R4E131002 – Nicodemus (New Testament Character Study) by Douglas Jacoby
- Nicodemus is a Greek name, and means “people’s victory.”
- He was a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin.
- Generally speaking, Israel’s 6000 Pharisees were highly respected.
- Nicodemus should have been familiar with the concept of new birth and its connection with water (from the Torah, from the passages about the Messianic age in the major and minor prophets, and from the message of John the Baptist).
- John 3:1ff (It isn’t clear where the conversation actually ends.)
- John 7:45-52
- John 19:38-42
- The trajectory is positive, but the outcome is unclear.
- In legend, Nicodemus goes on to become a “saint.” Yet the truth of the matter is far from clear.
- As in our own lives, the story is still being written.
- The Jewish Encyclopedia has theorized that Nicodemus is identical to Nicodemus ben Gurion, mentioned in the Talmud as a wealthy holy man reputed to have had miraculous powers.
- Catholic / Orthodox tradition holds that Nicodemus was martyred sometime in the first century. Accordingly, Nicodemus is venerated as a saint.
- The apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus was produced the mid-fourth century. It is only a retooling of the earlier Acts of Pilate. Neither, of course, is authentic.