Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-3:1)

“Now there was a Pharisee,

Named Nicodemus,

A leader of the Jews.”

Ἦν δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων, Νικόδημος ὄνομα αὐτῷ, ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων·

John uniquely introduced the Pharisees not as a group of people, but with an individual man who was a Pharisees (Ἦν δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων).  This Pharisee was named or called Nicodemus (Νικόδημος ὄνομα αὐτῷ).  Nicodemus was probably a leader (ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων) of the Jewish Sanhedrin or council, but his exact role is not specified, other than as a Jewish leader.  This Nicodemus will appear three times in the Gospel of John, here and later in the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, chapter 7:50-51, and at the burial of Jesus with Joseph of Arimathea, chapter 19:39-42.  However, he was never mentioned in any of the other synoptic canonical gospels.  Could this be Nicodemus ben Gurion, a wealthy Jewish leader who was opposed to the Jewish rebel Zealots in the first century CE.  The Pharisees were the most devout Jews, but usually the theological opponents of Jesus.  These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?  What do you think about the Pharisees?

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Joseph puts the body of Jesus in a tomb (Mk 15:46-15:46)

“Then Joseph bought

A linen cloth.

He took the body down.

He wrapped it

In the linen cloth.

He laid it

In a tomb

That had been hewn

Out of the rock.

He then rolled

A stone

Against the door

Of the tomb.”

 

καὶ ἀγοράσας σινδόνα καθελὼν αὐτὸν ἐνείλησεν τῇ σινδόνι καὶ κατέθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνήματι ὃ ἦν λελατομημένον ἐκ πέτρας, καὶ προσεκύλισεν λίθον ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν τοῦ μνημείου.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:59-60, and Luke, chapter 23:53, almost word for word.  John, chapter 19:38-41 introduced Nicodemus into this burial ritual.  Mark said that Joseph brought a clean linen cloth (καὶ ἀγοράσας σινδόνα).  He took the body down from the cross (καθελὼν αὐτὸν).  These biblical texts do not explain if he needed help with this task.  Then he wrapped the body in the linen cloth (ἐνείλησεν τῇ σινδόνι).  Finally, he laid Jesus’ body in his own new tomb (καὶ κατέθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνήματι), that he had carved or hewn in a rock (ὃ ἦν λελατομημένον ἐκ πέτρας).  He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb (καὶ προσεκύλισεν λίθον ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν τοῦ μνημείου).  This seemed like a private one-person burial ritual.

Jesus in the tomb of Joseph (Mt 27:59-27:60)

“Joseph took the body.

He wrapped it

In a clean linen cloth.

He laid it

In his own new tomb,

Which he had hewn

In the rock.

He then rolled

A great stone

To the door

Of the tomb.

Then he went away.”

 

καὶ λαβὼν τὸ σῶμα ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ ἐν σινδόνι καθαρᾷ,

καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ καινῷ αὐτοῦ μνημείῳ ὃ ἐλατόμησεν ἐν τῇ πέτρᾳ, καὶ προσκυλίσας λίθον μέγαν τῇ θύρᾳ τοῦ μνημείου ἀπῆλθεν.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:46, and Luke, chapter 23:53, almost word for word, while John, chapter 19:38-41 introduced Nicodemus into this burial ritual.  Matthew said that Joseph took the body of Jesus (καὶ λαβὼν τὸ σῶμα ὁ Ἰωσὴφ).  He wrapped it in a clean linen cloth (ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ ἐν σινδόνι καθαρᾷ).  The texts do not explain if he needed help with this task.  Then he laid Jesus’ body in his own new tomb (καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ καινῷ αὐτοῦ μνημείῳ), that he had carved or hewn in a rock (ὃ ἐλατόμησεν ἐν τῇ πέτρᾳ).  He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb (καὶ προσκυλίσας λίθον μέγαν τῇ θύρᾳ τοῦ μνημείου).  Finally, he went away (ἀπῆλθεν).  This seemed like a private one-person burial ritual.