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A Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, who was intellectually in sympathy with Jesus but lacked the courage to become an avowed disciple. As recorded by the fourth Evangelist, he visited Jesus and questioned him about his teachings "by night," which suggests that it was a clandestine visit (John 3:1-2). He was a lone voice in the Sanhedrin, reminding his colleagues that should not condemn Jesus without giving him a hearing (John 7:50). Convincing evidence that he was at least a silent disciple is the fact that, when Joseph of Arimathea was burying the crucified Christ, Nicodemus accompanied him and supplied the spices to be wrapped with the body (John 19:39-42). (Etym. Greek nikodemos, conqueror for the people.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.