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Featured Did Nicodemus ever accept Jesus?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Neostarwcc, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Well-Known Member

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    Why? Did what I say really get missed? I'm talking about how you approach the historical value of Scripture, not whether your salvation depends on knowing who a character in the story is.
     
  2. His student

    His student Active Member

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    Nicodemus is said to be a disciple of Jesus - although a "secret" one for fear of the Jews.

    Some will perhaps say that a "secret" disciple is no disciple at all. I disagree.

    Even Peter fits that description at different times. For that matter, all of the disciples met that description for at least a few days (perhaps even some 50 days) after the Lord's arrest and crucifixion.

    Some will likely say that the other disciples showed their fruit to us in the scriptures and we have no record of the same for Nicodemus. I disagree.

    I would point out that we don't see the return of some of the other disciples and yet we assume they did return and preach the gospel in the end.

    I would also point out that this "secret" disciple came "out of the closet", as it were, much earlier on than any of the others did and in fact never did hide his faith until after the resurrection proved it valid the way that the others did including the most prominent among the disciples (and even Apostles).

    We see more evidence, and stronger and earlier on evidence, in the case of Nicodemus than for many other disciples who have long been recognized by the traditional organized church as "saints".

    Why wonder about Nicodemus' salvation and not wonder about the salvation of those saints?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  3. JAYPT

    JAYPT Active Member

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    Unfortunately no one here is going to be able answer who is saved and who isn't. We cannot see peoples hearts and the bible doesnt specify whether Nicodemus was saved or not. I think its going to surprise us in heaven who is there and who isnt. So let's say, come Lord Jesus! It is a cool idea that you have pondered and I have often wondered this about certain people in the bible. Thanks for sharing!
     
  4. chilehed

    chilehed Veteran

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    It's long been understood that he was a secret disciple of Jesus, and that he was martyred for the faith. He's been venerated as a Saint in the Eastern and Roman Catholic Churches for many, many centuries, and typically that means that the people who knew him best thought that he was.
     
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  5. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Mere speculation without any support Firedragon76. What have you got that backs that up?
     
  6. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Ship of Fools Supporter

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    Not mere speculation, it's based on looking at the literary style of the text. We do not have an Associated Press style reporting of Jesus life here, concerned only with the facts. What we have is more theological or catechetical.

    Nicodemus and Jesus
     
  7. Bruce Leiter

    Bruce Leiter Member

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    I think that you'll discover the answer when we all gather in heaven and in the new universe after Jesus returns, not before.
     
  8. Bruce Leiter

    Bruce Leiter Member

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    I believe that the Bible is the only basis for our faith. We too have written confessions, but we believe that they agree with the Bible and can be changed if we discover that they conflict with the Bible.
     
  9. icxn

    icxn Bραδύγλωσσος αἰπόλος μαθητεύων κνίζειν συκάμινα

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    We celebrate him as a Saint twice a year, on what we call the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers and on August 2nd. The second feast day commemorates the finding of his relics (415 AD) along with Sts. Stephen, Gamaliel and Abibas.

    Quote:
    In the year 415 A.D. however, during the reign of John, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Gamaliel appeared three times in a dream to Lucian, the priest at Caphargamala and, at length related everything to him concerning the burial of all four saints, showing him the exact spot of their forgotten graves. He appeared as a tall, venerable man with a long white beard; he was dressed in white clothing which was edged with gold and marked with crosses, and held a gold wand in his hand.

    Gamaliel called Fr. Lucian by name three times, then told him to go to Jerusalem and inform Bishop John to open the tomb where his relics and those of other three saints were resting. The priest asked the stranger who he was. "I am Gamaliel, who instructed the Apostle Paul in the Law," he replied. Then he told the priest where to find the relics of St. Stephen. He also revealed that he had taken St Stephen's body and laid it in his own tomb after it had been lying exposed for a day and a night. St. Gamaliel also mentioned that St Nicodemus was buried at the same spot. "I received him into my house in the country," he said, "and maintained him there until the end of his life. After his death, I buried him honorably near Stephen." St. Gamaliel informed the priest that he and his twenty-year-old son Abibas were also buried there.

    Fr. Lucian was afraid to believe this vision right away, lest it be a temptation from the Evil One. However, when St. Gamaliel appeared again and commanded him to obey his instructions, he did so. A monk named Migetius also had a vision of St. Gamaliel and told Fr. Lucian to search for the relics in a place called Debatalia. With the patriarch's blessing Fr. Lucian went with a group of men and exhumed the four graves. Gamaliel had already told him in the dream whose grave was which. When the relics were uncovered, a strong sweet-smelling fragrance from the relics of the saints permeated the entire cave.

    The relics of St. Stephen were then solemnly translated to Zion and honorably buried there, and the relics of the remaining three were moved to a hill above the cave and were placed in a church. That day, many healings of the sick occurred by the relics of St. Stephen.

    In 428 A.D. the relics of Sts. Stephen, Gamaliel, Abibas, and Nicodemus were transferred from Jerusalem to Constantinople and placed in the church of the holy deacon Laurence. (Source)
     
  10. David Cabrera

    David Cabrera Well-Known Member

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    Come on, guys. I might disagree with @FireDragon76 a lot of times but he is just mentioning what some scholars said (not like I really care what they say) not that he believes that.
     
  11. Monk Brendan

    Monk Brendan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nowhere does the Bible say "accept Jesus."

    Or for that matter, "personal Savior."
     
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  12. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Hi Firedragon76
    I think this is rather paltry exhibit of evidence but to boot, the author himself admits it is sheer speculation. So, just because some modern day preacher use fiction as a literary device we are to assume that John did as well? I don't see that as logical but just plain silly. I can point to many modern day preachers that use true accounts to make their point also, so how are we supposed to make a rigid judgment that it this was a mere literary device when the scribe himself tells us the apostle verified his Gospel was true? It's just illogical on many levels. Sorry I don't mean to offend you but do you really believe this?

    • Since Nicodemus is mentioned only in the Gospel of John, some scholars have speculated that he is a literary invention of the evangelist. Preachers have been known to tell stories that illustrate the point of the sermon. Some of these stories and the people in them are simply made up. It is possible that John created this conversation with Nicodemus in order to teach new Christians the doctrine of his church.
    • The dialog is even structured like a catechism with questions and answers.
      • It was a didactic conversation so questions and answers would be the prevailing style
      • It's plain silly to state this can only be like a style of a catechism - which by the way we have no literary evidence for until much later - since fragments of John's Gospel found in Egypt date from about AD110-AD125.
    So, when one knows very little how the Gospel came to be composed, literary style over historical precedent is truly a very speculative stretch indeed. It can in no way impeach the historical witness, which has a much stronger foundational support attached to it. We have that with respect to John's Gospel and we have historical support for Nicodemus as well. Stylistically John's Gospel is a collection of Jesus stories and it was assembled into a codex, most likely just prior or soon after his death. I choose to believe his death was imminent based on the last paragraph. Where do we get that inference? We note it at the end of John's Gospel which tells us the final passage was interpreted by a scribe and not dictated to him.
    • John 21:23-25 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?" This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
    This can be broken into tertiary statements
    1. Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?"
    2. This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
    3. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
    From the above we can determine
    1. the scribe is probably writing at the time of John's death or soon afterwards. We can interpolate that since he is closing out the apostle's work by dealing with the confusion some had that Jesus would return while John was still alive - a fact he repudiates.
    2. He also states all the testimony that preceded his closure was from all from the hand of John and hence is verifiably true. When were each of the segmented Jesus accounts finished? Well when combined with the 1st statement we can surmise this Gospel was probably finished after his return from Patmos in AD 96, since we have historical witnesses that date his death on or about AD100. The other option is He may have had the loose collection of these accounts but did not finalize his codex until his return from exile.
    3. Based on #2 and #3 we are told these are historical events, not necessarily a strict chronological rendering, and specifically selected by the Apostle. That should already be clearly apparent to us by the obvious non coincidental rendering of only 7 signs, 7 feasts and 7 dialogs of Jesus. Assuming a strict chronology in John's Gospel has the potential to lead us astray, especially if we try and adapt it to the same literary mode as the Synoptics. Just accept that the 4th and final Gospel is primarily meant to cover what its 3 predecessors did not. Each segment needs to be read as one event, perhaps separated from the other by wide periods, since he is not trying to cover Jesus' ministry Chronology but has hand picked Seven Signs, Seven Feasts, and Seven Discourses. John was still baptizing as well:
      • After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. -John 3:22
    So John covers 3 years and not one. There is some overlap between one of the miracles of the loaves and fishes, as well as the Passion of Christ with the Synoptic Gospels. But, even here, John fills in both events with more details than the Synoptic narratives. His accounts of Jesus are then not necessarily assembled in strict order but where they best fit. This is especially true of the Nicodemus piece and John 2:13 to 3:1-21. There is no connective tissue between what transpired in 2:1-12 or with 3:22 - in fact it says Jesus was in Jerusalem in 2:13. We would assume Jesus met Nicodemus there as he was a priest of the Sanhedrin. Yet in 3:22 it says Jesus left there for Judea; well at least it does if you think there was indeed some connective tissue between the two accounts. It is more likely they are not connected incidents but unique and separated by time. Another clue here is that Nicodemus states he has performed many great signs but if you follow it Chronologically He has only performed a single miracle an that in the obscure village of Cana, Galilee. The first miracle performed in Judea is in chapter 5 and Jesus specifically says in Chapter 7 to those in Jerusalem that they had only seen 1 work of His; which is the one He did among them in Chapter 5 (for He is in Galilee in Chapter 6 in line with the Synoptics) which neither can be in chronological sequence if the other Jerusalem feasts are in order, since this one is in the Synoptic Gospels.
    • John 7:21 Jesus answered and said to them, "I did one work, and you all marvel. (the one at the previous feast in Chapter 5)
    It is safe to conclude the 4th Gospel is then exactly what it proposes it is within the text as well as what it is historically recorded to be. It is a collection of 7 signs, feasts and dialogs of our Lord meant to augment the earthly ministry of Jesus as recorded by the Apostle John. When you realize this you can harmonize it with the Synoptic Gospels with very little trouble.

    THE WITNESS OF HISTORY AGAPIUS AND EUSEBIUS AS TO JOHN's GOSPEL AND HIS REASON FOR CREATING IT:

    • 6. For Matthew, who had at first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to other peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native tongue, (Hebrew or Aramaic - we are presently only left with the Greek translation, which probably came later to save it) and thus compensated those whom he was obliged to leave for the loss of his presence. 7. And when Mark and Luke had already published their Gospels, they say that John, who had employed all his time in proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to write for the following reason. The three Gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his own too, they say that he accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness; but that there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his ministry. 8. And this indeed is true. For it is evident that the three evangelists recorded only the deeds done by the Savior for one year after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and indicated this in the beginning of their account.
    6. He wrote the gospel after those of Matthew Mark and Luke. When their copies were brought to him and he had them read, he said, "What they have written is good; but they have shortened the account of the acts of our Lord Christ, may he be glorified, before the imprisonment of John, son of Zachariah." This is why, the people asked him to write a gospel which told the acts which had taken place before the imprisonment of John. He reports the first miracle worked by our Lord Christ, may he be glorified, and that which before John had been placed in prison.

    Nicodemus is also mentioned as an early disciple along with several others:
    • Joseph of Arimathea, who was converted to Christ died in the prison of Jerusalem. Nicodemus the welcome; Nathaniel, chief of the scribes; Justus, whom Paul mentions. Judas, brother of James, brother of Christ. Silas (Σιλᾶς), of whom Paul also speaks. Judas, son of Barsabas…..
    So, I think the overwhelming data is that Nicodemus was indeed a very real person, a priest of the Sanhedrin, that became an emphatic follower of Christ as was active in the early Jerusalem Church where he became known as 'the Welcomer', just as Barnabas became known as 'the encourager'. It is also likely Nicodemus could also have been known outside of Jerusalem, especially in Ephesus and Antioch where the early disciples frequently traveled to.

    In Christ, John 1720


    Most likely he stayed a member of the Jerusalem Church till the very end.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  13. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Ship of Fools Supporter

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    I am not disputing the authorship of John. I actually believe it is John the apostle. But that doesn't change my belief the text is primarily theological and catechetical. Reading it as a modern history and expecting Nicodemus's dialogue in John to be the actual words of another historical figure like Nicodemus ben Gurion is to misunderstand the genre of the text and engage in real speculation.

    The notion the Gospels should be harmonized is one that I don't accept. There was an attempt to do so in the early church, and that was rejected . Each Gospel says different things for a reason and mushing them all together without consideration of the different styles and authorship communities' agendas is potentially misleading.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  14. nicolelovesjesus

    nicolelovesjesus New Member

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    I've actually been wondering the same thing recently. I just performed a song called Witness, arranged by Jack Halloran and it tells the story of John 3. I assume that there's no way Nicodemus could have denied Christ after what was shared between them. Nicodemus was the one who approached Jesus, asking all these questions about how to be saved. I do think that Nicodemus accepted Jesus
     
  15. Danielwright2311

    Danielwright2311 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Did the guy down the street ever accept Jesus?

    Your own souls is the reason for the season, not Nicodemus.

    No one can answer you as only God know who accepts him or not.
     
  16. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Hi Firedragon,
    Yes, I was not addressing the validity of the Gospel but the purpose behind its authorship, as well as why it should not be read in the same style as the Synoptic Gospels. Why? Because the author you quoted made chronology important in his understanding of textual criticism.


    On a side-note, however, I will say If one believes the Gospels are historically reliable, which I do, then of course they can be harmonized. Therefore I really see no difference between harmonizing the recorded history of Tacitus and Suetonius and the Gospels. We actually do harmonize them already when we preach from one Gospel text and refer to another one that mentions the same event. I can think of many instances where this has enriched our understanding.

    However, I also addressed why the textual criticism you referred to was quite subjective, even if you only use one tool - namely textual criticism itself. Furthermore, even if it was more substantial it wouldn't impeach the historical voice as to Nicodemus being a genuine person. Did you wish to discuss why or detail why we should believe differently?
    In Christ, John 1720

     
  17. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    Hi Sir,
    Yes, that is true just as it is true that the Bible does NOT mention the Trinity. However, as far as having a close and personal relationship with the Savior, it hard not to see how our relationship with Christ was designed to be close from the foundation of the world. I just fail to see how it could be any closer than what we read in the Bible:

    • Matthew 28:20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
    • John 14:18 “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
    • John 17:26 "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

    That's only 3 out of many but if that doesn't portray an intimately personal relationship with the Savior, then I don't know what does.
    In Christ, John 17:20
     
  18. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    I think you're right to be uncertain. There's just not enough details to conclude that Nicodemus got saved at any point in the Bible.

    What constituted true belief according to Christ, there's simply not enough information about Nicodemus that he did those things... Giving Jesus a proper burial is not enough to show true belief. Other things needed to be manifested as proof that Nicodemus truly believe.
     
  19. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    There's not enough info given about Nicodemus that he truly believed.

    True belief:

    John 14:12
    Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

    John 7:7
    The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.

    Ephesians 5:11
    Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

    And of course the many other things that Jesus did. The Bible doesn't give us information whether Nicodemus manifested these fruits or not.
     
  20. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The fruits Nicodemus manifested, per the scriptures, is indicative of his faith.

    That's all we have to go on ...
     
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