What does WT Say About .....

by cameo-d 19 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • cameo-d

    Jesus's "secret friends" Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus?

    In your own words, how do you understand the story?

    I would also like to see what WT may have published about this connection.

    Thank you.

  • Witness 007
    Witness 007

    They played Poker together every Friday night....Jesus would turn water into Beer!.........awesome!

  • snowbird

    Cameo, this is positively uncanny!

    I was thinking on those two just the other night.

    According to the Bible, they both were well-to-do and were secret disciples of Jesus of Nazareth.

    I was also wondering about Lazarus, and if he's the "other disciple that Jesus loved," if he wrote the Gospel of John, and if he's related to Simon of Bethany.

    We have so much yet to learn about our Savior.

    I don't know what the WT has to say about Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Probably something cursory.


  • Waffles

    The Secret Friend class would be a great group to be a part of. You are undercover, don't have to do much, and Jesus still loves you. Maybe the modern day Nicodemus class are the faders?

  • blondie

    * **

    w02 2/1 pp. 8-12 Learn a Lesson From Nicodemus


    "IF ANYONE wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake day after day and follow me continually." (Luke 9:23) Humble fishermen and a despised tax collector readily accepted that invitation. They left everything behind to follow Jesus.—Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:27, 28.

    Jesus’ call is still heard today, and many have responded. However, some who take pleasure in studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses hesitate to ‘disown themselves and pick up their torture stake.’ They are reluctant to accept the responsibility and privilege of being Jesus’ disciples.

    Why do some hold back from accepting Jesus’ invitation and dedicating themselves to Jehovah God? Granted, those who were not brought up with the Judeo-Christian concept of monotheism may need considerable time before coming to a full appreciation of the existence of a personal, almighty Creator. Yet, even after they have become convinced that God is real, some beg off from following in the footsteps of Jesus. They may fear what their relatives and friends will think of them if they become Jehovah’s Witnesses. Others, who lose sight of the urgency of the times in which we live, turn to the pursuit of fame and fortune. (Matthew 24:36-42; 1 Timothy 6:9, 10) Whatever the case may be, for those who keep on postponing their decision to become Jesus’ followers, there is a lesson to be learned from the account of Nicodemus, a wealthy Jewish ruler in Jesus’ day.




    Only about six months after Jesus started his earthly ministry, Nicodemus recognizes that Jesus ‘as a teacher has come from God.’ Impressed by the miracles that Jesus recently performed in Jerusalem at the Passover of 30 C.E., Nicodemus comes, under the cover of darkness, to confess his belief in Jesus and to learn more about this teacher. At that, Jesus tells Nicodemus a profound truth about the need to be "born again" in order to enter the Kingdom of God. On this occasion, Jesus also says the words: "God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life."—John 3:1-16.

    What a marvelous prospect lies before Nicodemus! He may become a close associate of Jesus, able to witness firsthand various aspects of Jesus’ life on earth. As a ruler of the Jews and a teacher in Israel, Nicodemus has a good knowledge of God’s Word. He also has keen insight, as seen by his identifying Jesus as a teacher sent by God. Nicodemus is interested in spiritual matters, and he is unusually humble. How difficult it must be for a member of the highest court of the Jews to acknowledge a lowly carpenter’s son as a man sent from God! All such qualities are invaluable in the making of a disciple of Jesus.

    Nicodemus’ interest in this man from Nazareth does not seem to wane. Two and a half years later, at the Festival of Booths, Nicodemus attends a meeting of the Sanhedrin. At this time, Nicodemus is still "one of them." The chief priests and the Pharisees send officers to arrest Jesus. The officers return and report: "Never has another man spoken like this." The Pharisees start to belittle them: "You have not been misled also, have you? Not one of the rulers or of the Pharisees has put faith in him, has he? But this crowd that does not know the Law are accursed people." Nicodemus cannot hold back any longer. He speaks up: "Our law does not judge a man unless first it has heard from him and come to know what he is doing, does it?" He then finds himself the target of criticism from the other Pharisees: "You are not also out of Galilee, are you? Search and see that no prophet is to be raised up out of Galilee."—John 7:1, 10, 32, 45-52.

    Some six months later, on Passover Day of 33 C.E., Nicodemus beholds Jesus’ body being taken down from the torture stake. He joins Joseph of Arimathea, another member of the Sanhedrin, in preparing Jesus’ body for burial. For that purpose, Nicodemus brings "a roll of myrrh and aloes" weighing about 100 Roman pounds, equivalent to 72 English pounds. It represents a considerable outlay of money. It also takes courage for him to be identified with "that impostor," as his fellow Pharisees call Jesus. Quickly preparing Jesus’ body for burial, the two lay Jesus in a new memorial tomb nearby. Even at this moment, however, Nicodemus still is not identified as a disciple of Jesus!—John 19:38-42; Matthew 27:63; Mark 15:43.




    Why Nicodemus begged off from ‘picking up his torture stake’ and following Jesus, John did not reveal in his account. However, he left some clues that might explain this Pharisee’s indecision.

    First of all, John pointed out that the Jewish ruler "came to [Jesus] in the night." (John 3:2) One Bible scholar suggests: "Nicodemus came by night, not out of fear, but to avoid the crowds that would have interrupted his interview with Jesus." Yet, John referred to Nicodemus as "the man that came to [Jesus] in the night the first time" in the same context in which he referred to Joseph of Arimathea as "a disciple of Jesus but a secret one out of his fear of the Jews." (John 19:38, 39) It is likely, therefore, that Nicodemus called on Jesus under the cover of darkness out of "fear of the Jews," just as others in his day feared having anything to do with Jesus.—John 7:13.

    Have you put off the decision to become one of Jesus’ disciples because of what your relatives, friends, or colleagues might say? "Trembling at men is what lays a snare," says a proverb. How can you deal with that fear? The proverb continues: "But he that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected." (Proverbs 29:25) In order to build that trust in Jehovah, you need to come to see for yourself that God will sustain you when you are in sore straits. Pray to Jehovah, and ask him to give you the courage to make even minor decisions regarding your worship. Gradually, your faith and trust in Jehovah will grow to the point that you will be able to make major decisions in harmony with God’s will.

    Nicodemus’ position and prestige as a member of the ruling class may also have prevented him from taking the important step of disowning himself. At that time, he must still have had a strong attachment to his position as a member of the Sanhedrin. Do you hesitate to take action to become Christ’s follower because you may lose a prestigious position in society or may have to sacrifice certain prospects for advancement? None of these things can compare with the distinction of being able to serve the Most High of the universe, who is willing to satisfy requests you make in harmony with his will.—Psalm 10:17; 83:18; 145:18.

    Another possible reason for Nicodemus’ procrastination might have been related to his riches. As a Pharisee, he might have been influenced by the others, "who were money lovers." (Luke 16:14) The fact that he was able to afford an expensive roll of myrrh and aloes testifies to his means. Some today keep delaying the decision to take up the responsibilities of a Christian because they are anxious about their material belongings. However, Jesus admonished his followers: "Stop being anxious about your souls as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. . . . For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you."—Matthew 6:25-33.




    Interestingly, the account about Nicodemus, which appears only in John’s Gospel, leaves unsaid whether he ever became Jesus’ follower or not. According to one tradition, Nicodemus took a stand for Jesus, got baptized, became a target of Jewish persecution, was removed from his position, and was finally banished from Jerusalem. Whatever the case, one thing is certain: He had much to lose by procrastinating while Jesus was here on earth.

    If Nicodemus had started following Jesus at the time of his very first encounter with the Lord, he could have become a close disciple of Jesus. With Nicodemus’ knowledge, insight, humility, and awareness of spiritual needs, he could have become an outstanding disciple. Yes, he could have heard the amazing speeches by the Great Teacher, learned vital lessons from Jesus’ illustrations, witnessed eye-opening miracles that Jesus performed, and gained strength from Jesus’ parting admonition to his apostles. But he missed out on all of that.

    Nicodemus’ indecisiveness meant a great loss on his part. Included was Jesus’ warm invitation: "Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) Nicodemus missed the opportunity to experience this refreshment literally from Jesus himself!




    Since 1914, Jesus Christ has been present in heaven as the King of God’s heavenly Kingdom. Foretelling what would take place during his presence, he said among other things: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14) Before the end comes, that worldwide preaching work must be accomplished. Jesus Christ takes pleasure in having imperfect humans take part. You too may have a share in this work.

    Nicodemus recognized that Jesus came from God. (John 3:2) From studying the Bible, you may have come to a similar conclusion. You may have made changes in your way of life to conform to Bible standards. You may even be attending meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses to take in further knowledge of the Bible. You are to be commended for such efforts. Yet, Nicodemus needed to go beyond simply showing appreciation for Jesus as the one sent by God. He needed to "disown himself and pick up his torture stake day after day and follow [Jesus] continually."—Luke 9:23.

    Take to heart what the apostle Paul tells us. He wrote: "Working together with him, we also entreat you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation I helped you.’ Look! Now is the especially acceptable time. Look! Now is the day of salvation."—2 Corinthians 6:1, 2.

    Now is the time to develop the faith that moves you to action. To that end, meditate on the things that you are studying in the Bible. Pray to Jehovah, and ask him for help to display such faith. As you experience his helping hand, your appreciation and love for him will move you to want to ‘disown yourself and pick up your torture stake day after day and follow Jesus Christ continually.’ Will you act now?

    *** it-2 pp. 497-498 Nicodemus ***

    NICODEMUS(Nic·o·de´mus) [Conqueror of the People].

    A Pharisee and a teacher of Israel, a ruler of the Jews (that is, a member of the Sanhedrin) who is mentioned only in John’s Gospel. Nicodemus was impressed with the signs that Jesus performed in Jerusalem at Passover time of 30 C.E. Consequently, he visited Jesus one night and confessed that Jesus must have come from God. (Probably out of fear of the Jews he chose the cover of darkness for this first visit.) It was to Nicodemus that Jesus spoke of being "born again" in order to see the Kingdom of God, of no man’s having ascended to heaven, about God’s love as being shown by sending the Son to earth, and about the need to exercise faith.—Joh 2:23; 3:1-21.

    About two and a half years later, at the Festival of Booths, the Pharisees sent officers to lay hold of Jesus. When the officers returned empty-handed, the Pharisees belittled them for making a report favorable to Jesus, whereupon Nicodemus spoke up, saying: "Our law does not judge a man unless first it has heard from him and come to know what he is doing, does it?" For this the others ridiculed him. (Joh 7:45-52) After Jesus’ death, Nicodemus came along with Joseph of Arimathea, that fearful disciple, bringing a heavy roll of myrrh and aloes (c. 100 Roman pounds [33 kg; 72 lb]), a costly offering, with which to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. (Joh 19:38-40) There is no Scriptural evidence for or against the traditions that say Nicodemus later became a disciple, was cast out of the Sanhedrin and Jerusalem, died a martyr’s death, and so forth.

    *** it-2 p. 112 Joseph ***A wealthy man from the Judean city of Arimathea and a reputable member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Although a good and righteous man who was waiting for God’s Kingdom, Joseph, because of his fear of unbelieving Jews, did not openly identify himself as a disciple of Jesus Christ. However, he did not vote in support of the Sanhedrin’s unjust action against Christ Jesus. Later, he courageously asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and, along with Nicodemus, prepared it for burial and then placed it in a new rock-cut tomb. This tomb was situated in a garden near the place of impalement and belonged to Joseph of Arimathea.—Mt 27:57-60; Mr 15:43-46; Lu 23:50-53; Joh 19:38-42.

    *** w50 10/1 p. 360 Joseph of Arimathea ***



    IT IS early in the spring of the year A.D. 33 (Nisan 14 according to the Jewish calendar) as we look in on the home of the high priest Caiaphas in Jerusalem. What a gathering of distinguished men we see! Some threescore and ten, consisting of the older men of influence of the nation, the chief priests and the scribes, are present there, many of whom belong to the sect of the Pharisees. And how excited they are! Why? Because they have a prisoner before them who is none other than the miracle-worker, Jesus of Nazareth.

    As we note the proceedings one thing becomes very obvious: the lofty principles of this Sanhedrin court, that every man is presumed innocent until proved guilty and that its purpose "is to save, not to destroy life", have been pushed aside. It seems as though the entire body (with one or two exceptions) is actuated by malice and the one presiding seems determined to prove the accused one guilty and so worthy of death. Evidently a conspiracy is afoot, for many false witnesses have testified.

    The high priest is losing control of himself, the trial is not at all going the way he would like to have it go. So, addressing the prisoner, he shouts: "I charge you, on your oath, by the living God, tell us whether you are the Christ, the son of God." The defendant, Jesus, answers: "It is true. Why, I tell you you will soon see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty and coming upon the clouds of the sky!" Feigning extreme righteous indignation, the high priest tears his clothing and exclaims: "He has uttered blasphemy! What do we want of witnesses now? Here you have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?" The council, with a pompous sanctimoniousness to cover up its malice, answers: "He deserves death."—Matt. 26:63-66,


    But the verdict was not altogether unanimous. No, a few, but very few, did not give their consent nor approve of the action taken. Among these was a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea. In fact, he was a disciple of the accused, of Jesus. A disciple of Jesus? Yes, according to the three Gospel-writers Matthew, Mark and Luke, he was a disciple of Jesus, a rich man, a highly respected member of the council, who was himself living in expectation of the reign of God.—Matt. 27:57, 58; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50, 51,


    Why should Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, be associated with that great religious body, the Sanhedrin, which was so violently opposed to Christ Jesus? The apostle John gives us the answer. He describes Joseph of Arimathea as "being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews".—John 19:38.

    But with the conviction and execution of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea gained courage. He boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. "Accordingly he bought fine linen and took him down, wrapped him in the fine linen and laid him in a tomb which was quarried out of a rock-mass."—Mark 15:43-46,


    Whether or not Joseph of Arimathea followed through and became a fearless footstep follower of Christ Jesus the Scriptures do not reveal. However, from what is recorded regarding him we can appreciate why the Scriptures state "how difficult a thing it will be for those with money to make their way into the kingdom of God!"—Luke 18:24,


  • snowbird

    Thanks, Blondie.

    Just as I thought - cursory.

    All that fluff and not one in-depth, well-researched statement about either one.


  • cameo-d

    Snowbird: "According to the Bible, they both were well-to-do and were secret disciples of Jesus of Nazareth."

    Is that really 'according to the bible' or is it according to what you have been told and the way it has been interpreted for you? How do you resolve "secret friendships" according to these scriptures:

    John 18:20 I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.

    Does Jesus sound like a man who would agree to secret handshakes? Wouldn't you be insulted if someone pretended to be your friend based on one sneaky late night visit?

  • cameo-d

    WatchTower Lies Refuted

    Lie # 1.

    "Only about six months after Jesus started his earthly ministry, Nicodemus recognizes that Jesus ‘as a teacher has come from God."

    Wrong. These words from Nicodemus were used as flattery toward Jesus to attempt to butter him up and put him off guard as to Nicodemus' mission for visting him. Just like elders who come to your door unannounced after dark, they are usually on a fact finding mission.

    These words from Nicodemus were false flattery and pretensious. Much like the same way when an elder drops in unannounced during your evening hours and says "I just happened to be in the neighborhood." These are words designed to put you off guard, to make you think it's just a friendly visit when actually they have come to inspect your book shelves or some other such detail.

    John 3:1

    Now there came a man of the Pharisees whose name was Nicodemus, a member of the council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could do the miraculous signs that you do unless God were with him.”

    Why would Nicodemus refer to himself as "we"? Is he purporting to speak for the entire council of the Sanhedrin? Surely this is a dead give-away that he is lying through his teeth in making such a flattering supplication.

  • cameo-d

    Lie #2.

    " Impressed by the miracles that Jesus recently performed in Jerusalem at the Passover of 30 C.E., "

    According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, as well as Bible scholars, it is believed that Nicodemus of the new testament was the same Nicodemus ben Gurion mentioned in the Talmud as a wealthy and popular holy man. He was reputed to have "miraculous powers".

    Could it be that Nicodemus was not so impressed by the miracles of Jesus as he was threatened by them? His leadership and popularity were at stake.

    I have not been able to find any particulars that describe Nicodemus' "miraculous powers". However, I suppose that if Nicodemus was a part of an inner circle of corruption, that these miracles could have been the ability to "get things done" with a wink and a handshake. Perhaps this man had connections and favors owed to him. Perhaps this is how he 'made things happen' that may have seemed impossible for others.

    Many people cowtow to those in power. They can make you or break you. And so, this was possibly how the miracles of Nicodemus were achieved.

  • cameo-d

    Lie # 3.

    Nicodemus comes, under the cover of darkness, to confess his belief in Jesus and to learn more about this teacher.

    "Under the cover of darkness." This is very telling.

    Would you be inclined to be friends with someone who was ashamed to be seen with you in the light of day?

    "To confess his belief in Jesus"

    As already discussed above, this was a pretensious flattery designed to get his foot in the door to talk to Jesus.

    "and to learn more about this teacher"

    Yes, it was a fact-finding mission and an effort to entrap.

    Wouldn't you think it rather rude to drop in on someone after dark?

    This is the time people allot to their families, or as time to themselves.

    If the PO came to your house unannounced at 8:30 pm, wouldn't you find it a bit disturbing or alarming?

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