Nicodemus, the mystery man of Holy Week

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Deposition from the Cross from Vienna church - Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimatea.  Photo courtesy Shutterstock (

Deposition from the Cross from Vienna church - Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimatea. Photo courtesy Shutterstock (

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(RNS) The Bible tells us little about Nicodemus. But Christians have found ways to dramatize his journey from skeptical Pharisee to the foot of the cross.

  • Daniel Burke

    Great idea, J. Bob. Thanks for the tip.

    Daniel Burke

  • Joy

    Great article! It’s interesting that most of the popular quotes from Jesus are spoken to a crowd or group, but John 3:16 is spoken to only one man. So, understanding Nicodemus’s heart and background can definitely help modern Christians to interpret the meaning and purpose of Jesus’s words.

  • susan

    I wish you had finished the quote…”Amen Amen I say to you, unless one is born of WATER and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” We are born again thru Baptism, into Christ’s death that we might share in His Resurrection. This is consistent Church teaching for 2000 years….the ‘New Testament Church’ taught this from the very beginning (read the Church Fathers). Salvation is NOT guaranteed and achieved in a moment of emotional pitch…it is an ongoing, lifelong struggle against sin, and the aquiescence of the individual will to align with God’s Will. Even St. Paul didn’t consider his salvation assured UNTIL he had run the full race and stayed faithful to the end (way too many examples of this, but check Phil 2:12 and 3:12 in just ONE epistle). This whole ‘once saved always saved’ abomination is a modern innovation and a true tradition of man; it is sadly lulling many souls into the particularly deadly sin of presumption.

  • vw

    Nicodemus & Gamaliel buired St. Stephen
    Blessed Holy Week

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  • EnTeaJay

    Well said Susan, nobody could say it clearer, plainer or more succinctly!

  • melinda

    Thank you for writing this. Very uplifting and timely!

  • vw

    Apparition of Gamaliel
    Tomb with St. Stephen Nicodemus Abibas Gamaliel son & Gamaliel
    Gamaliel buried Nicodemus
    Blessed Holy Easter & Mercy Sunday

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  • David

    I’ve read Joy’s book “Nicodemus” and found it to be a very enlightening and interesting take on the Biblical character. It’s a fast read and I highly recommend it for all those interested in learning more about such a little known individual from the Bible.

  • Jack

    Again well said Susan! This whole thing about saved once, saved forever really comes from Martin Luther or is a furthr devolution of his heretical teachings from the fathers of the Catholic Church. I once worked with a fine evangelical woman who told me that “we don’t have to really worry about the Ten Commandments because we are “saved” by Jesus and that SAINT Paul’s comment about working out his salvation in fear and trembling referred to dissention in the church (???) This is dangerous presumption as you state.
    It is so clear what Our Lord’s words to Nicodemus mean. As you pointed out, one must be baptised in water and the Holy spirit. We see this too when St. Peter baptises Cornelius and his friends at Ceasarea.

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  • William Andersen

    Susan, I am sorry that you do not find the death burial and resurrection sufficient for salvation. Are the things you do so important that you can influence God ????? Eph 2: 8-9

  • susan

    William, I most certainly see the Passion, death and Resurrection of our Lord as ENTIRELY sufficient for our redemption, but our salvation is truly in our hands (Phil 2:12-13) to be worked out as a consequence of our free-will decisions to either cooperate with God’s grace, or turn our backs on it. He doesn’t FORCE salvation on anyone, and as the great St. Augustine says, “the God Who made you without your consent will not save you without it”. I won’t even begin to go into the myriad passages that deal with our being saved and repaid according to what we’ve done, and how well we’ve demonstrated our love for God and neighbor. I would suggest as a start, looking at Matthew 25 for 2 very clear statements from our Lord on this, which St. Paul explains further in the Philippeans passage.

  • susan

    Ooooo….came across this article today, and it makes my point more eloquently than I ever could…

  • Sam

    I have been looking up Nicodemus articles since a morning Sunday School class kinda of said that Nicodemus was saved because of his anointing Jesus’ body and speaking up for Jesus in trial. If salvation comes from doing good deeds, then we are all saved – but I think not.

    What is interesting to me is this blog on once saved always saved. I stumbled with this for a while and came up with this :
    If once we are saved we are always saved, then who cares if we stumble and fall ? We would not be accountable to anyone ….. we would be, in this concept, always saved to God -no matter what ….

    Also: As God sees it, there are only two types of people on the planet – those that are saved and those that are unsaved. The saved will go to Heaven and the unsaved to Hell. Satan already has the unsaved – unless they turn around and accept Jesus Christ. Satan doesnt need to pursue the unsaved because he has them by default.
    Satan is after the saved but- If once saved, we are always saved, what is satan’s job ???? Satan wouldn’t be able to pull us down to sin. I was asked once if I believed in eternal security? I replied “yes i do as long as the person is walking with Jesus in heart,mind and soul 24-7-365+ every second of every minute of every hour !”. I actually believe “eternal security is a cop-out for people to live how ‘they’ want to……

  • Sam

    {f Nicodemus was saved, I am throwing in a disclaimer to say I don’t try to discredit any person’s salvation ! Jesus did say we are to be fruit inspectors, and therefore the works thing doesn’t add up. – “not by works that any man should boast”. It is just that alot of assumptions are made without scriptural backup.

  • tony

    Thank you Susan. Those who subscribe to the ‘once saved…’ theory look to texts like Galatians 2:16 which says a man cannot be justified by works, but a look at the next two verses (17, 18) clearly state that we cannot be justified in Christ while harboring sin. Vs 21 states that being crucified with Christ means that His life is evident in us. Also, Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26, 27, 2 Peter 2:21,22 (just to name a few) all make it clear that if after we’ve experienced Christ’s saving grace and return to our old ways we will not be saved. Paul states in Romans 8 that baptism is symbolic of dying to sin and rising to live the new life. Transformation is part of the salvation experience and we play a large roll in it.

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