The Serpent and the Shadow

A Portrait of Nicodemus

J.M. Diener

Author’s Note

Nicodemus is one of the most shadowy figures in the New Testament. He appears only three times, all of them in the Gospel of John (3:1-21; 7:45-52; 19:38-42) and there are no reliable extrabiblical sources about him. Even so, what we do know is remarkable: he is a Pharisee, a rabbi, truly seeking the Messiah and the Kingdom of Heaven. He stands up for Jesus before the Sanhedrin and finally helps bury the true King of the Jews. But amidst this flow of information the man Nicodemus is just a shimmering shade. Who was he? What were his relations, job, tribe? And most important, did he believe? This portrait has tried to capture a picture of this man. Because of the lack of information most of what is written here is fictitious, but the real goal is to draw a picture of Jesus, called the Christ, using the medium of Nicodemus.