James the Greater vs. Nicodemus

After a day in which two ascetics battled it out in the wilderness, John Chrysostom emerged victorious over Margaret of Cortona 53% to 47% — despite a late push by Margaret — to advance to the Saintly Sixteen. He’ll face the winner of Mellitus vs. Ephrem of Nisibis.

Today we return to the Biblical quadrant of the bracket as James the Greater faces Nicodemus. For those who followed the Supreme Executive Committee‘s shenanigans at last summer’s Lent Madness Day at General Convention in Austin, Texas, you’ll recall this included a play-in match between James the Great and James the Less. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Greater lived up to his name, leaving the Lesser to wallow in saintly ignominy.

Finally, in case you missed yesterday’s edition of Monday Madness, for which you should do some serious penance, you can still catch it here.

James the Greater

James the GreaterJames the Greater is the portrait of an imperfect saint. He is often known as “the Greater” to distinguish him from the other Jameses in the Bible. The moniker denotes his prominence in the early tradition, not his superiority over other like-named disciples and saints Jameses.

James is the older brother of John. They are fishermen with their father Zebedee until Jesus calls them to follow him. James is given a special place in the gospels as an early follower of Jesus and as one who is given special access. He, along with Peter and John, is one of the few witnesses to the raising of Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:35-43), the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9), and Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42).

In spite of this privileged place, James often exhibits weakness and lack of insight. His all-too-human responses give us hope. He and his brother are called “Sons of Thunder,” presumably because of their impetuousness. (Later hagiographers, that is, those who write about the lives of the saints, say the brothers were given the name for their thunderous—and effective—preaching.) In the Gospel of Luke, when a Samaritan village does not welcome Jesus, James and John ask if they should call fire from heaven to consume the village (Luke 9:51-56). James, with Peter and John, doesn’t understand the Transfiguration. He falls asleep while Jesus agonizes in the Garden. When Jesus tells his followers he must be rejected, condemned to death, mocked, and crucified, James and John reply by asking if they can be seated at his right and left hand in power (see Mark 10:32-40). According to Mark, James flees the crucifixion scene.

In the gospel tradition, James’s name always precedes John’s. Curiously, once Luke begins to tell his tale in Acts, James disappears while Peter and John act as the most prominent leaders of the nascent movement. This is perhaps because James, as one of the first martyrs for the Jesus movement, was killed by Herod in the early 40s (see Acts 12:2). In a story recounted by Clement of Alexandria, James’s defense before Herod was so effective that the guard who was charged with watching him was converted and the two were killed together.

Collect for James the Greater
O Gracious God, we remember before you today your servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that you will pour out upon the leaders of your Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

-David Creech


NicodemusCanonical material from which to pull a full biography of Nicodemus is limited. Nicodemus only appears in the Gospel of John and even then, only three times. The first time ol’ Nick appears in the gospel is when he comes to Jesus to ask him about his teachings. John describes Nicodemus as “a Pharisee…a leader of the Jews.” Nicodemus seems stumped by Jesus’ idea that one must be “born again” in order to inherit the kingdom of God. Through this exchange, which lasts for twenty-one verses, Jesus and Nicodemus exchange maxims, teachings, and the occasional sass before Jesus offers a more fulsome exploration of his work in the world. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” We aren’t told whether or not Nicodemus is persuaded.

Nicodemus appears again several chapters later when the Sanhedrin discuss how to arrest Jesus for blasphemy and disturbing the peace. Nicodemus chimes in, advocating that Jewish law does not permit judgment before one is given a trial. His defense of Jesus prompts some on the council to suggest that Nicodemus might be one of Jesus’ followers. Again, Nicodemus’ response is not recorded.

The final time Nicodemus appears in John is during our Lord’s crucifixion. After Jesus has died, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus come to remove the body of Jesus, prepare it for burial, and place it in Joseph’s tomb. Nicodemus brings “a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds” and with Joseph, wraps the body of Jesus “with the spices in linen cloths” (John 19:39-40). Again, Nicodemus never makes a verbal confession of belief but what can be deduced from his actions, particularly his care and attention to the body of Jesus, is that Nicodemus was convinced of and converted by the message of Jesus. He uses his incredible wealth to bury Jesus in royal fashion. Although Nicodemus follows Jesus as a clandestine disciple, his life is changed by a chance encounter.

Collect for Nicodemus
Almighty God, you gave to your servant Nicodemus special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-Marcus Halley

James the Greater vs. Nicodemus

  • Nicodemus (51%, 4,888 Votes)
  • James the Greater (49%, 4,641 Votes)

Total Voters: 9,529

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James the Greater: Guido Reni [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Nicodemus: Crijn Hendricksz Volmarijn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

191 Comments to "James the Greater vs. Nicodemus"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 12, 2019 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    As the Pharisees plot to collect Him
    Nicodemus speaks up to protect Him
    “Rule of law holds for all:
    Both the great and the small.”
    In this season, I vote to elect him.

    • Rebecca's Gravatar Rebecca
      March 12, 2019 - 8:20 am | Permalink

      Well done!

    • Ann G.'s Gravatar Ann G.
      March 12, 2019 - 9:57 am | Permalink


    • Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
      March 12, 2019 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      So glad we are on the same team this time! Go Nicodemus!

    • March 12, 2019 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      I’m a fan, John, as I said yesterday and have a terrific crush on your syntax but don’t agree and voted for James. I’d probably have been napping in the garden and hiding my face at the crucifixion. But you write great.

      • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
        March 12, 2019 - 11:46 am | Permalink

        What Nancy Hause said.

      • Mike's Gravatar Mike
        March 12, 2019 - 11:59 am | Permalink

        Well done, big nance!

      • Stephanie's Gravatar Stephanie
        March 12, 2019 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

        i agree with you

      • Diane in Estes's Gravatar Diane in Estes
        March 12, 2019 - 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Nancy is so wise (and lots of fun)!

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      March 12, 2019 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      love it

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      March 12, 2019 - 11:51 am | Permalink

      One of your best yet, and I’m with you. I love that Nicodemus first comes to Jesus “by night.” As Br. Geoffrey Tristam, SSJE writes in today’s “Brother, Give us a Word” sermon https://www.ssje.org/2014/03/16/walk-by-faith-not-sight-br-geoffrey-tristram/ Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the darkness that faith and trust that life with God often require.

    • Mark Bigley's Gravatar Mark Bigley
      March 12, 2019 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I was confounded that they would set James against Nicodemus. What a difficult choice!
      I went with James because James gave it all-his life. And in the midst of being executed, if his faith is grounded enough to convert the guard who was willing to lose his life, well you can’t get much more in depth than this. Of course, we have no record of Nicodemus’ later life, except for allowing Jesus to be laid in his tomb. It is likely that Nicodemus didn’t understand Jesus any more than James did, or any of us would have.

  2. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    March 12, 2019 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    To alleviate some of the stress of today’s match-up, we honor Big Jim and Nic with a song sung to the tune of “Summer Lovin'” from the musical “Grease”. Enjoy, daddy-os, and vote!

    James: Summer fishin’ with Zebedee.
    Nicodemis: Summer scribin’. I’m Pharisee.
    James: I follow him with my bro John.
    Nicodemis: I spar with him. He talks on and on.
    Both: It’s so neat when Jesus I meet but oh oh the Judea nights.
    Apostles: Tell me more! Tell me more!
    Nicodemis: “Born again” is his scene.
    Apostles: Tell me more! Tell me more!
    Nicodemis: Just read John 3:16

    James: Raised Jairus’ daughter up from the dead.
    Nicodemis: His teaching fodder gets in my head.
    James: I’m “Son of Thunder”: My preaching style.
    Nicodemis: Their legal blunder – can’t judge him ‘til trial.
    Both: Nic shuts his trap and Jim takes a nap on the Lord’s Gethsemane night.
    Apostles: Tell me more! Tell me more!
    James: Look, his robe has turned white.
    Apostles: Tell me more! Tell me more!
    James: Want to sit to his right.

    Nicodemis: Things got darker. He’s crucified.
    James: I’m not proud that I ran to hide
    Nicodemis: So I brought aloe and myrrh…
    James: Herod makes me a martyr…
    Both: All our dreams, ripped at the seams, but, oh, those Jerusalem ni-ights!
    Apostles: Tell me more! Tell me more!

    • Teresa's Gravatar Teresa
      March 12, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

      This is a great start to my day

    • Rebecca's Gravatar Rebecca
      March 12, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink


    • March 12, 2019 - 8:48 am | Permalink

      Absolutely brilliant! Thank you!

    • Doris ALICE McLallen's Gravatar Doris ALICE McLallen
      March 12, 2019 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      Brilliant…. but I want to HEAR it sung other than in my head! Tim and Scott?

      • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
        March 12, 2019 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        Come to our office. Someone will be singing it. 🙂

      • Marsha Dent's Gravatar Marsha Dent
        March 12, 2019 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Me, too! I would love to hear someone sing it!

    • Renee D's Gravatar Renee D
      March 12, 2019 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      This is hysterical! I look forward to reading your songs as much as I do voting for the saint.

      • Soni's Gravatar Soni
        March 12, 2019 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

        I also love the songs. Wish they would provide actual singing.

    • Karen Mills's Gravatar Karen Mills
      March 12, 2019 - 9:28 am | Permalink

      Another fantastic morning of Broadway hits with new lyrics. Well done, Michael!

    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      March 12, 2019 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      Classic! Thanks for bringing joy to us today!

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      March 12, 2019 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      I think I’ve now got the devotion for today’s church staff meeting….

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2019 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t decide whether to give James or Nicodemus the higher voice. Fun way to start the day again, my friend.

    • Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
      March 12, 2019 - 9:43 am | Permalink

      What an added blessing to Lent Madness your songs are!

    • Sai's Gravatar Sai
      March 12, 2019 - 9:52 am | Permalink

      This is truly excellent!
      (SEC: We really, really need a LIKE button!)

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 12, 2019 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

        You took the time and made the effort to state your thought. Thank you! Why oh why would you want to push a button that says absolutely NOTHING about your why’s and wherefores?

    • Priscilla Szerdi's Gravatar Priscilla Szerdi
      March 12, 2019 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      Love the song! You just need to get someone to actually be singing it to start my day!!

    • Elly's Gravatar Elly
      March 12, 2019 - 10:31 am | Permalink


    • Elly's Gravatar Elly
      March 12, 2019 - 10:32 am | Permalink

      Brilliant! Voted for Nic

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 12, 2019 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Me too.

    • Diane MC's Gravatar Diane MC
      March 12, 2019 - 11:08 am | Permalink


    • Lauren D's Gravatar Lauren D
      March 12, 2019 - 11:18 am | Permalink

      This song is far better than the original, and only solidifies my vote for Big Nic today!

    • Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
      March 12, 2019 - 11:56 am | Permalink


    • Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
      March 12, 2019 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

      GROAN. I am a music teacher. Now this will be in my head all day. 😉
      The votes are closer than any I’ve seen so far. I went with James because he was the “first martyr.” Also, I probably would have fled the crucifixion as well.

      • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
        March 12, 2019 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

        @Robyn, actually I believe Stephen was the first martyr…see 2017’s bracket with write-ups for Stephen, who made the Faithful 4 before losing to Franz Jaggerstatter.

        and agreed, fleeing the crucifixion seems like a smart move for self-preservation.

        • Jeff's Gravatar Jeff
          March 12, 2019 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

          James was the first of the 12 Apostles to be martyred.

    • Jackson Hearn's Gravatar Jackson Hearn
      March 12, 2019 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

      These alone are worth voting for!

    • linda delacruz's Gravatar linda delacruz
      March 12, 2019 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

      you are a wizard! Also one of my favorite musicals.

    • Kate the RC Druid.'s Gravatar Kate the RC Druid.
      March 12, 2019 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I love a good filk! And I agree, we need audio files. ‘cos I can’t sing to save my life. Lol

    • Josie's Gravatar Josie
      March 12, 2019 - 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Such talent can only come from the Holy Spirit. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed this and yes, sang it in true “Grease” style.

    • Cindy Schuricht's Gravatar Cindy Schuricht
      March 12, 2019 - 9:43 pm | Permalink

      I sang it, but wavered on the tune at places so would also love to hear someone else sing it. So good. Lent Madness, the Musical . . . please.

  3. Rian Restau's Gravatar Rian Restau
    March 12, 2019 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    vote Nicodemus !!!!!

    March 12, 2019 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    NO NO NO

  5. Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
    March 12, 2019 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Nicodemus is my confident choice for the day. It he didn’t even need a dog to win me over.

      March 12, 2019 - 8:10 am | Permalink

      james was meant to be greater its in his name

  6. Jenny's Gravatar Jenny
    March 12, 2019 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Nicodemus gets my vote because I actually think he did NOT convert. I see him as a model of disagreeing with someone and still recognizing their humanity and treating them with dignity and respect. I think that’s a model from which we could all learn.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 12, 2019 - 8:16 am | Permalink

      Ooh–I like it!I haven’t voted yet –this could push me over -I’m leaning.

    • March 12, 2019 - 8:29 am | Permalink

      I can’t state the case better than Jenny does.

      • Catherine Bailey's Gravatar Catherine Bailey
        March 12, 2019 - 9:39 am | Permalink

        But isn’t this the competition for who is the most saintly and if he wasn’t even a christian in your eyes, then that means that he shouldn’t even be on this list. This is why I voted James the Greater

        • Jenny's Gravatar Jenny
          March 12, 2019 - 10:51 am | Permalink

          Well no one was a Christian for the first 200 years or so. I don’t think that’s a great way to divide people since the line between being a Jew who found Jesus’ teaching compelling to a Jew who believed Jesus to be divine to finally a Christian is imperfect, porous, and historically murky. If one had to be a Christian then James wasn’t one either. He was Jewish.

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            March 12, 2019 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

            And Jesus wasn’t a Christian either!

        • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
          March 12, 2019 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

          In previous Lent Madnesses (is that even a word??), there have been a few “contestants” who were definitely not Christian: Sarah, the wife of Abraham (2017), Esther (2018), who bested Michael the Archangel in the Faithful Four. Would an angel be considered Christian?

    • Margaret Doleman's Gravatar Margaret Doleman
      March 12, 2019 - 9:20 am | Permalink

      Excellent point!

    • Cheryl O.'s Gravatar Cheryl O.
      March 12, 2019 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      I voted for James but admire your insight.

    • Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
      March 12, 2019 - 10:57 am | Permalink

      Well said! Nicodemus gets my vote too.

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 12, 2019 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Wow! What a great statement. I haven’t voted yet – was leaning toward James but now I am thinking it over. Thank you!

    • Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
      March 12, 2019 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I think that gets into the “Jesus was just a really nice guy” camp… which I don’t think is one of the options

  7. Carolyn Mack's Gravatar Carolyn Mack
    March 12, 2019 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Voting for James who expected to be with Jesus when He came into His kingdom and had no idea what he was asking (the Cross) but ended as one of the earliest martyrs. I also attend St. James Episcopal Church, Millcreek, Delaware, so I have to vote for the homeboy.

  8. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    March 12, 2019 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Nicodemus gets my vote. (Even is spellcheck wants it to be Nicole!)

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2019 - 9:36 am | Permalink


    • March 12, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and poor Barbara Ehrenreich’s spell check is giving her: Nickel and Dime Us.

  9. Rev. Steve's Gravatar Rev. Steve
    March 12, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I voted James. Nic not being able understand born again is the killer for me.

      March 12, 2019 - 8:46 am | Permalink


  10. K-Roz's Gravatar K-Roz
    March 12, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    My dad was a non observant Jewish agnostic. He served as his unit’s Lutheran chaplain’s assistant during his service in the Vietnam conflict. He married my RC mom, raised us as RC, knew all the Vatican II Novus Ordo mass responses, and loved Christmas carols. Never converted, but I tried to get him to come on my Alpha Courses. For my dad, I voted for Nic.

  11. Michael Cartwright's Gravatar Michael Cartwright
    March 12, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I’m going for Nicodemus. It took courage and conviction to stand up for Jesus in two of the three times we read about him. Also my sister is vicar at St James the Less so family loyalties put me against the james who vanquished him in the play-in match.

  12. Kc grieser's Gravatar Kc grieser
    March 12, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Oh! it’s Nicodemus even without deliverance,
    ‘Cause he buried our Lord with the greatest reverence

  13. March 12, 2019 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    James in an Apostle! No Apostles, no Church! It’s that simple.

    • Joan Dragolic's Gravatar Joan Dragolic
      March 12, 2019 - 11:15 am | Permalink

      I walked part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain last Summer so it has to be James. He walked with me I’m sure.

  14. March 12, 2019 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    This Episco-paw-lian chooses James.

  15. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    March 12, 2019 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Having trouble with website on my computer this morning and can’t see comments on my phone. 🙁
    I voted for James because I just didn’t see anything in Nicodemus’ write up that convinced me he should even be a saint. James certainly wasn’t perfect but his very imperfections give me hope.

  16. Irene's Gravatar Irene
    March 12, 2019 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I went with James. Nicodemus didn’t seem to have much skin in the game.

  17. Rev. Lucy Hook Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Hook Porter
    March 12, 2019 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Today I vote for James, who was chosen by Jesus as one of the three closest friends from among the disciples. His pride led him to request being with Jesus “when he came into his kingdom”, and he actually got what he asked for, not in earthly glory but in martyrdom. By that time he apparently realized the true meaning of the Kingdom of God.

  18. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 12, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Nicodemus all the way. He was played with such devotion by Laurence Olivier. I believe he played him well as his portrayal showed how he came to realize that he really was talking to the Son of God.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2019 - 9:48 am | Permalink

      That’s who I’ve been picturing as well! “Jesus of Nazareth,” right? Loved that back in the day!

    • Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
      March 12, 2019 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

      If Laurence Olivier were in the running I’d vote for him in a heartbeat!

  19. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 12, 2019 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    The willingness to ask genuine, as opposed to argumentative, questions, the courage the speak up against both the angry and determined powers that were and to risk accusations and humiliation in the midst of his influential, status loving peer group (not to mention potential charges of heresy), and his grieving, tender faithfulness in providing a tomb for Jesus, gain my vote for Nicodemus.

    • Diane in Maine's Gravatar Diane in Maine
      March 12, 2019 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Beautifully put, thank you.

  20. March 12, 2019 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice. I ended up with Nicodemus because I like the quietness of his coming to Jesus. There is a sense of reflection and growth, and the tenderness with the burial is very moving. Nicodemus models for me that following Christ isn’t always about dramatic life changes but the slow working of the Holy Spirit transforming us over time, leaving us to make our witness in our daily context where it is surely most needed.

    • Colleenrose's Gravatar Colleenrose
      March 12, 2019 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      I agree. Spiritual growth is a process. Not everyone has an epiphany. The stories of Nicodemus, although brief, show, thoughtfulness, courage, and compassion.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 12, 2019 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Dirk Reinken, you make some very good points about quietness, reflection, and gradual transformation.
      Thank you; I’m voting for Nicodemus.

      • Simon John Hartropp's Gravatar Simon John Hartropp
        March 12, 2019 - 3:26 pm | Permalink

        All good thoughtful comments from Laura, Diana and Dirk supporting Nicodemus. He is probably the disciple (yes, to me he was one, no doubt) with whom I can identify the most strongly. The anecdotes show him in touch with Jesus throughout His ministry, from beginning to end. It was Nicodemus who elicited the famous 3:16 from Jesus’ lips.

  21. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 12, 2019 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for James for my brother Jim, who is the older brother of John

  22. March 12, 2019 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    I can’t decide, I go back and forth. I’ll vote for Nicodemus because I like his hat.

  23. Denise Evans's Gravatar Denise Evans
    March 12, 2019 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Tough choice (again!) but I had to go with James.

  24. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    March 12, 2019 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Tough one, but David Creech’s bio blurb of James the Greater had me at “imperfect saint.” Plus, I’ve walked the Camino twice and the Camino is all about James. That said, James is the Great Sycophant, as well as a man apparently without the barest of manners. He’s terribly flawed … as are we. I was tempted to vote for Nico but his silence/unrecorded responses at key moments gave me pause. Better to be loud and proud (like James), than to hold back (like Nico) and wait to see which way the wind blows.

  25. Mollie Tutner+'s Gravatar Mollie Tutner+
    March 12, 2019 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Much as I love James, having served at St. James’s in Clayton, Georgia (I was the Vicar of Warwoman Road!), my vote today goes to Nicodemus. Whether or not he was able to get past the intellectual hurdles Jesus set for him, his actions bespoke a faith that God surely honors.

  26. Jane Fenicle's Gravatar Jane Fenicle
    March 12, 2019 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    James left all (dad, fishing, safe non-political life) and gave all ( his life) for Christ. Sure he was imperfect,self-seeking, a bit dense, cowardly, but he openly followed Jesus and did his best to stay with him. Nicodemus questioned, sought, stood for a fair trial, used his wealth to bury Jesus. He may have gained much by a secret conversion, but retained his place in society and didn’t really lose a thing. What did it cost him but a hundred pounds of spice? James is greater for me.

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 12, 2019 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jane. Your comments swayed me back to James. So human, with faults and failings, but so stalwart – he gave his life to Christ at first calling and so grew in faith and fervor that he inspired another even as he faced death courageously.

  27. Janice Pauc's Gravatar Janice Pauc
    March 12, 2019 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Since my son is a James had to go with this one in voting. So far I’m 1 for 4 in my picks. And I am loving the musical interludes.

  28. Karen Pearson's Gravatar Karen Pearson
    March 12, 2019 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Having walked the Camino de Santiago, I vote for James!

  29. Linda Murdock's Gravatar Linda Murdock
    March 12, 2019 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I voted for James because, when Jesus called him to follow him, he left everything for Jesus not knowing where it would lead.

    • March 12, 2019 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Come to think of it, maybe we should have a pilgrimage trail named for each of the apostles. Hmm… which one would I walk?

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 12, 2019 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

        The path of St Brigid, because it would be lined with pubs.

  30. Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
    March 12, 2019 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I voted for James, because I am pretty sure I would have fled the crucifixion scene, too.

  31. Charlyn Heidenreich's Gravatar Charlyn Heidenreich
    March 12, 2019 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I didn’t think either deserved a vote but Nick was was there at prime moments.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2019 - 9:54 am | Permalink

      Neither? Why? I don’t understand.

  32. Elizabeth Bremner's Gravatar Elizabeth Bremner
    March 12, 2019 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Though I admire Nico for burying Jesus reverently, he didn’t follow him, unlike James who did and died for his beliefs.

  33. Susan Reeves's Gravatar Susan Reeves
    March 12, 2019 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Even though we aren’t told if Nicodemus converted, we do know that he sought and continued in conversation with Jesus, so it seems to me that he was a seeker. His placing himself in the company of Jesus and later, in his reverence and care in the burial of Jesus speaks to me of unspoken (maybe unrealized) belief that he was in the presence of the holy. So, Nicodemus gets my vote.

  34. Jerry Cappel's Gravatar Jerry Cappel
    March 12, 2019 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Gotta be James, because despite the facts of his rough edges, he showed up. Nicodemus, on the other hand, played on the edges and stayed on the edges. James edges this one out.

  35. Peter's Gravatar Peter
    March 12, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    A good matchup for sure. I leaned toward and voted for J the G. He is better known, did not quietly work in the background, and lived and died in the faith. Tho I like Nic, and respect those who vote for him, I believe the match up goes to James.

  36. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 12, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Suppose Nicodemus had not come ‘to Jesus by night’? We’d be missing all of that discourse, recorded because John thought it was important. And suppose he had not helped Joseph with the burial–what more gracious act, than to defile yourself for a man killed as a criminal, that Jesus’s body might be treated with respect? And none of the other disciples jumped in? Though we do not hear of Nicodemus later, I suspect John knew him, and mentioned him by name because the Church knew him, later. Not to downplay James, but I do have to choose!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2019 - 9:58 am | Permalink

      On balance, the gospels say that the women disciples were the ones who prepared Jesus’ body for burial. Nicodemus and Joseph may have paid for it, but my money is on it being the women who did the actual work.

      • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
        March 12, 2019 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Add my money to your bet, Susan – I am sure you are correct!

    • Greg's Gravatar Greg
      March 13, 2019 - 4:13 am | Permalink

      I agree Ruth – Nicodemus was there after Jesus died, when so many fled. I think that speaks of some commitment.

  37. Leann Wilson's Gravatar Leann Wilson
    March 12, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I voted for James, because he shows us that even well-meaning stumble bunnies can do remarkable things for God. However, I’ve always liked the accessibility of Nicodemus’s storyline.

  38. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    March 12, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    James , everything about him speaks to my faith walk.

  39. March 12, 2019 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Have to go with James here, one of the Twelve and part of Jesus’ inner circle, as well as an early martyr. But kudos to Celebrity Blogger Marcus Halley for his line about Jesus and Nicodemus exchanging “maxims, teachings, and the occasional sass”. That made me smile.

  40. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 12, 2019 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    We voted for James, because of our James the organist extraordinaire. We can’t wait for the return of our church’s organ repair and expansion so that he can be a Son of Thunder and make beautiful music on the instrument!

    And, SEC, can you do something so that the comments of the day run consecutively timewise, as they previously have? They jumped all over yesterday. Thanks!

  41. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 12, 2019 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    I voted for James because of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago de Compostela), which was life-changing for me (and I can’t wait to walk again) . . . Buen Camino!

  42. Eljay's Gravatar Eljay
    March 12, 2019 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    I agree with Jenny (above): he is a model of disagreeing with someone and still recognizing their humanity and treating them with dignity and respect—a model from which we could all learn.

    • Eljay's Gravatar Eljay
      March 12, 2019 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      Nicodemus, that is!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 12, 2019 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      And furthermore, why are only Christians good people and excellent role models and worthy of emulation?

  43. Dottie Hoopingarner's Gravatar Dottie Hoopingarner
    March 12, 2019 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Since I agree with John Shelby Spong that Nicodemus was probably a literary figure invented by the writer of the Gospel of John. Hence, I voted for James who was a real person.

  44. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 12, 2019 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Kudos to Nicodemus for picking up the tab for Jesus’s funeral, but James’s apostleship, however fallible, gets my vote. James earns brownie points for his association with the Camino, which path I hope someday to tread.

  45. Jeaninejj's Gravatar Jeaninejj
    March 12, 2019 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Having dozed off during church last Sunday due to the “leap forward” to daylight savings time, I must vote for snoozy James.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2019 - 10:06 am | Permalink

      Nicodemus is compelling: I can identify with his questioning (what a coup! To be able to ask the Man himself the meaning of life—!); he stepped way outside his comfort zone to learn more; he was extremely generous and compassionate; and (as discussed above) he looked a lot like Laurence Olivier.

      And yet. James was one of Jesus’s closest friends. Time and again Jesus chose him to be with him at crucial moments in his ministry. Yes, he fell short. Yes, he was obtuse. But he was passionate and he was “all in” in ways that few were, and we owe much to him for his work in early days to keep the Faith going. James is my choice today.

  46. Sue's Gravatar Sue
    March 12, 2019 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Nicodemus may not have worn his faith on his sleeve. He didn’t need to. As the Ash Wednesday reading from Matthew reminds us, “… your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

  47. Sharon Pattaion's Gravatar Sharon Pattaion
    March 12, 2019 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Not sure what happened,BUT, I didn’t get to vote for James the Great, as the first to be marterd he gets my vote!

  48. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    March 12, 2019 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    I feel very sympathetic toward both these figures. I voted for James, because he seems so human. What is more relatable than two brothers quarreling over who would get the bigger slice of cake? I read once that the “falling asleep” in the Garden of Gethsemane was not mere “fatigue” but mortal dread falling over the disciples. They became lethargic, catatonic with terror. I can relate to that. I too would probably run away. The spirit is willing but the flesh is so very weak. I voted for James though I doubt he will make it to the next round. He’d be OK with that; John won’t be there either.

  49. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    March 12, 2019 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Having walked on the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) for two weeks last summer with my daughter, I have to vote for James. According to tradition, it was James’s very human (sometimes frustrating, sometimes endearing) tendency to take everything Jesus said literally that led to him travelling to Finisterre, Spain, during the years he was absent from Acts. Before ascending to the Father, Jesus told his disciples to “preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.” So, James went all the way to Finisterre–or, “The End of Earth.” After his martyrdom in Jerusalem, it was believed that his bones were returned to Spain and interred in nearby Santiago de Compostela, the site of the present day Cathedral, and one of the three main pilgrimages in the Christian world, along with Rome and Jerusalem. Whether it’s true or not, it sounds like something he would do.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 12, 2019 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      Poor literal James. He should have stayed alive. There’s a Land’s End in Nova Scotia. He was a fisherman after all and would have fit right in.

  50. Bill Bosies's Gravatar Bill Bosies
    March 12, 2019 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    Having hiked the Camino to Santiago two years ago, I have to vote for James, whose sobriquet “the greater” also refers to his height.

  51. Linnea Hendrickson's Gravatar Linnea Hendrickson
    March 12, 2019 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    I’m one of thousands of pilgrims to the tomb of Santiago, our Jimmy, as a pilgrim friend calls him. What is historical and what is legend or folklore is. hard to determine, but walking with St. James Peregrino has changed my life and that of many others. He is usually depicted with scalllop shell and staff. St. Jimmy has my vote!

  52. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 12, 2019 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to Nicodemus in this worthy two. I give thanks for all seeking answers to their questions, and all who come to faith in roundabout ways.

  53. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    March 12, 2019 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Though James’ occasional impetuousness and cluelessness is a comfort to me personally, the stark poetry of the nighttime conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus is priceless; Nicodemus so earnest and seeking and plaintive. Convert or not, he proved to be a true mensch and good neighbor. And I’d much rather have him at our Pub Theology table than James!

  54. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 12, 2019 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Thought it would be Nicodemus (my spell check knew how to spell it!) but it was still neck in neck until the end of the comments. I went with James simply because my grandson is James and I can relate to the impetuous, self promoting son of thunder. Besides I am 0 for 4, why go with the flow, eh!

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 12, 2019 - 11:30 am | Permalink

      “They also serve whose brackets are broken.” Milton

  55. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 12, 2019 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    Nick for the win

  56. March 12, 2019 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    I think Nicodemus may have been the first Episcopalian! While he doesn’t say much (at least it isn’t recorded, if he did), he just keeps on keeping on, displaying his faith in “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace.”

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 12, 2019 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Nicademus is sounding better and better.

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 12, 2019 - 3:04 pm | Permalink


  57. Jeff Downey's Gravatar Jeff Downey
    March 12, 2019 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    I would just encourage people to follow El Camino de Santiago and vote for St James the Greater.

  58. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 12, 2019 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Of course James was “imperfect” and “all too human”! All the saints were; it’s part of being a saint! And all the disciples seem to get a bad rap for not understanding what was going on at the time. How on earth COULD anyone!?? I mean, they were fishermen, without the benefit of a course in N.T. theology and history.

  59. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 12, 2019 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    He put his money where his mouth was not. Nicodemus

  60. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 12, 2019 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    Oh, come along, folks! James is the clear winner here. Ol’ Nic did some nice things, made some nice donations of gifts-in-kind and all that, but he fell far short of the marks required to make a grab for The Golden Halo.
    He never even responded to his one on one with Jesus. C’mon! Give Jimmy his due!

    • JKoll of FX's Gravatar JKoll of FX
      March 12, 2019 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I agree!

  61. Kim Morse's Gravatar Kim Morse
    March 12, 2019 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    Nicodemus so reminds me of working in academia. It is a way of life defined by long debates in which one is never sure of victory. Then the well-placed comment by your sparring partner makes a difference with administration. Nicodemus was not flashy, but he showed that one can make change by working the system from the inside. That is worthy, and necessary.

  62. Linda Hanson's Gravatar Linda Hanson
    March 12, 2019 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    Re James: No mention of Spanish tradition?

  63. Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
    March 12, 2019 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    For me, Nicodemus embodies “principles before personalities”, where behavior is consistently driven by fundamental truths and not situational. The “born again” aspect of joining the Christian community has never appealed to me, and it is my hope that in the future, “saints” can be identified as such regardless of their religious identification.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 12, 2019 - 12:34 pm | Permalink


  64. Rm Gens's Gravatar Rm Gens
    March 12, 2019 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Marcus. It was written well but James is more like me.

  65. A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
    March 12, 2019 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Wrong Nicodemus but I propose Tim Curry’s “Wake Nicodemus” as our guy’s rousing theme song. Let there be bagpipes, and justice. Nicodemus is not thunderous but he is careful and caring – and he does speak up to call out ‘illegal procedure’.

  66. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 12, 2019 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    It’s gonna be a close one. James is Greater for me.

  67. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    March 12, 2019 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Wow, it’s close. I’m just letting everyone know here and now that regardless who the winner of this round is, I’m voting for Martha over him.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 12, 2019 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Don’t paint yourself into a corner like that, St. C. The wind bloweth where it listeth.

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 12, 2019 - 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Ha! spoken like a man of wisdom. We will be voting for St. Davis one day.

  68. Marcia's Gravatar Marcia
    March 12, 2019 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Nicodemus, a secret believer who used his power in the Sanhedrin to block Jesus’s premature arrest. Jesus goes on to teach and heal perhaps because Nicodemus spoke up for the rule of law, as an earlier voter has noted. He collaborates with Joseph of Arimathea, another secret believer, to arrange a burial for Jesus. He used his worldly wealth and worldly power to protect Jesus during and after his life at a moment when being a known follower was a mortal risk. I agree with the voter whose comments moved me to this position — to us, now, it is very valuable to have a Biblical model of a leader who risks power and wealth to protect the truth.

  69. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    March 12, 2019 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I can ID with Nicodemus (not because of his wealth), because his conversation with Jesus gives us that ultimate verse: John 3:16 and because he is there at the tomb.

  70. JKoll of FX's Gravatar JKoll of FX
    March 12, 2019 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Give it up and vote for James! The fisherman turned disciple who was martyred!

  71. chrissie's Gravatar chrissie
    March 12, 2019 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Thinking that James needs his own limerick:

    James the Greater was one Son of Thunder
    Who saw many of Jesus’ wonders
    While his preaching was fierce
    His temper could pierce
    Not to choose him would be a real blunder.

  72. Carole A Tholen's Gravatar Carole A Tholen
    March 12, 2019 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Again, El Camino de Santiago brings me to vote for St James the Greater. When I homeschooled my two children, we read a wonderful novel about pilgrims on the Way.

  73. Mark Story's Gravatar Mark Story
    March 12, 2019 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always found it interesting that John offers an editorial comment in Jn 2:23-24 that says Jesus did not trust himself to those who believed because of the signs he did. In Jn 3:2, Nicodemus says, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” Did Jesus really trust Nic?

  74. Leslie's Gravatar Leslie
    March 12, 2019 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Nicodemus. It seemed that James was always asking for something. Regardless of his final martyrdom, he comes across as a “what’s in for me” follower. On the other hand, Nicodemus didn’t ask for anything except to understand Jesus’ teachings, and in the end, Nicodemus gave.

  75. Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
    March 12, 2019 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    While James the Greater is an inspiring figure, I admire the man who argued theology with Jesus and eventually stood up with the Christians by going with Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus’s body. Showing one’s allegiance so boldly was no small move for the member of the Sanhedrin. I’m voting for Nicodemus.

  76. Ann B's Gravatar Ann B
    March 12, 2019 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I knew for certain James the Greater was going to get my vote. There is a reason he is with Jesus at such momentous events. But it had slipped my mind that Nicodemus with Joseph of A took Jesus’s body down from the cross. He was a pharisee and he risked being unclean at sundown, which meant he could not partake in the Sabbath. He also loved Jesus too much to leave him hanging overnight on the cross. (22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is accursed by God;) Though Jesus obviously would not fall under this, it could well have been an argument used by the Sanhedrin. It is obvious from his action that Nicodemus had taken Jesus’s message to heart. Love and the spirit of the Law are more important than the letter of the Law.

  77. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 12, 2019 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Voting for James, because his feast day is the only day we get to sing “For Thy Blest Saints, A Nobel Throng,” which is the only hymn in the Hymnal 1982 set to the tune Dunlap’s Creek. It’s such a beautiful melody, and most people never hear or sing it in church.

  78. Irene Lawrence's Gravatar Irene Lawrence
    March 12, 2019 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I have wondered if Jesus’s giving nicknames was rather tongue-in-cheek. Simon was never particularly rocklike during Jesus’s lifetime, and, according to Matthew, it was their mother who pushed the advancement of the so-called “Thunder Boys.” If James did become a “thunderous preacher,” perhaps it was as great a change for him as Peter’s was for Peter.

  79. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 12, 2019 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m liking my late arrival to the voting more and more – the things over which I get to pontificate and theorize! I went with Nicodemus and man is it close at 1:50 PM! While reading Dottie Hoopingarner’s comment – after I’d voted – regarding John Shelby Spong’s assertion Nic was probably a literary figure gave me definite pause, and despite having always loved the descriptive “Sons of Thunder”, caring for the body of Jesus post crucifixion won my heart – and my vote.

  80. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 12, 2019 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    My childhood church had a huge stained glass window of the sleeping disciples in the garden. Since preparing my first Seder for our Episcopal congregation, I have imagined those guys had over-eaten and were dead drunk. Even though I understand they “needed a drink”.
    Two males prepared the body for burial. Surely not the first members of a Chevra Kadisha. I wonder if the ancient prayers were spoken. Seems he was buried in a tachrichim and maybe a tallit, or maybe not. When my cousin’s father-in-law, a holocaust survivor, passed, I learned a lot about Jewish funeral rituals. Last year I read Rabbi Jeffrey Myers description of the Holy Society’s clean up of the remains and every drop of blood, after the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg. I have long pondered why we have dropped so many Jewish practices. I know some of them are coming back. I’m thinking Nicodemus was following the practices of the time–to the letter–and his contribution in scripture is essential to the Gospel–even though it’s John’s Gospel.

  81. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 12, 2019 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Nick at Night

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2019 - 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that is perfect, Catherine!

  82. Barbara A.K. Franklin's Gravatar Barbara A.K. Franklin
    March 12, 2019 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Nicodemus because I have pity on him. He reminds me of the members of a certain party who want to be true to their roots, but at the same time know in their hearts that their group has gone very very far astray. These brave members speak up in protest and do whatever they can to restore their group to sanity, but they do not abandon their group I think it shows strength of character to be open to the new yet loyal to one’s roots.

  83. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    March 12, 2019 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    in a Michelangelo statue in Florence…. Jesus being brought down from the cross..
    Michelangelo puts his own face on the face of Nicodemus. Nic sure gets my vote!

    apparently.. folk who were secret fans of the reformation where it was dangerous to be a fan were called Nicodemites.

  84. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 12, 2019 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I was tempted to vote for Nicodemus because I expect the next round will get into thenon-canonical material, in which we learn the origin of “Jerusalem,” the Blake poem set to music by Sir Charles Hubert H. Parry, now one of the best-loved hymns in the A. C. But James the Great’s story is common to us all and must take precedence here on earth no matter what the seating arrangements are in the Kingdom of God.

  85. Mother and Son's Gravatar Mother and Son
    March 12, 2019 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

    James lost his life for Jesus. Nicodemus did not lose anything. We go with James.

  86. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 12, 2019 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Two guys who didn’t get it but stayed in the game because they knew Jesus. Both are used by their respective Evangelists as foils for Jesus; through their incomprehension we gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus was and why he came to us. Their stories also remind us, in quite different ways, of how deep is the divine mystery and how very hard it is to fathom even a tiny bit of it. Another impossible choice.

    So I voted for Nico because his portraitist had such a cool name, and for the Flemish light that dances in each man’s eyes in Volmarijn’s depiction of their encounter. Also for his frankness and tenacity, expressed first in his encounter with the living Christ and then in his devotion to the care of the disfigured body of a convicted criminal whose divinity he seems to have sensed, though he may never have understood or proclaimed it.

    • Greg's Gravatar Greg
      March 13, 2019 - 4:29 am | Permalink

      Well said Davis! Thank you.

  87. Diane in Maine's Gravatar Diane in Maine
    March 12, 2019 - 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate how Nicodemus “walked the walk” rather than needing to talk about how great was his faith. I especially appreciate the possibility of hearing Jesus say, “there are no stupid questions.”

  88. Patricia Samuel's Gravatar Patricia Samuel
    March 12, 2019 - 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Help! There’s no VOTE button today, at least not in Bar Harbor, Maine at 4.40 PM, which is when I started trying to vote. I used my e-mail connection to no avail. Then I tried calling up the website directly: still no way to vote. If you get this message before 8 PM, please cast my vote for Nicodemus

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 12, 2019 - 7:36 pm | Permalink

      I believe it stays open all night, until 8 am. Not certain. However, by secret, devious means, I have cast your vote for Nicodemus for you. You don’t get another one. Pretty sure I might have cancelled out my vote for James. Sigh. However, your donkey seems to be in a ditch, and I’m pretty sure it’s gospel to pull it out for you. Your vote is cast.

      • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
        March 12, 2019 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

        St Celia, I hail your willingness to listen to and to aid another with who you may disagree, and whose goals you may or may not share. I don’t know if it’s gospel, but it is righteous — in my book.

        “I do not share your belief, but I will defend unto death your right to express it.” — Voltaire

  89. Laurel the Nonconformist's Gravatar Laurel the Nonconformist
    March 12, 2019 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

    No doubt Nicodemus was a seeker and was brave when it counted; but James was there for Jesus’ whole ministry, paid the ultimate price, and was effective right to the end. I got for James the Greater.

  90. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 12, 2019 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    gotta go with the fisherman…cause FISHING.

  91. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    March 12, 2019 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

    James gets my vote for several reasons. He was one of Jesus’ first picks as a disciple, and I figure He knew a thing or two about folks! I admire Nic’s ability to ask such searching questions, but he may indeed be a literary figure. Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart, but even the faint of heart may be given grace to persevere despite the occasional failings. Nic may have been given credit for the expensive embalming herbs, but wasn’t that a gift of the Magi? Since I, too, have failed at times, I will vote for James, as giving the eample that we can take advantage of forgiveness and try again.

  92. Marianne Allison's Gravatar Marianne Allison
    March 12, 2019 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I think interrogators from outside our faith makes us better. My brother is an Orthodox rabbi (a convert, albeit never very religious as a Christian) and I LOVE our Nicodemus-Jesus banter (it goes without saying that I’m no Jesus!) In appreciation for him, I voted for Nicodemus.

  93. fran in the pines's Gravatar fran in the pines
    March 12, 2019 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Last line about Nicodemus: “Although Nicodemus follows Jesus as a clandestine disciple, his life is changed by a chance encounter.” I beg to differ. Nicodemus made a conscious, active, deliberate, intentional effort to go and meet with Jesus. How can you describe this as “a chance encounter?” An actual “chance encounter” would have been somewhat unremarkable. The fact that Nicodemus sought out an opportunity to talk with Jesus is quite remarkable and speaks to the power of Jesus to reach into the hearts and minds of individuals. And the example proves true today: Any time we seek out Jesus for a discussion (though today we would call it a prayer), our lives are changed by that encounter.

  94. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 12, 2019 - 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Nicodemus. This is what we strive to become by hearing the word and defenders of Jesus and the Teacher of his words.

  95. Carole's Gravatar Carole
    March 12, 2019 - 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I can so identify with the very “humanness” of James — his impetuousness, his speaking without thinking first, puttingbhis foot in his mouth — but perhaps most of all, for leading with his heart and putting his love for Jesus right out there.

  96. Alan C's Gravatar Alan C
    March 12, 2019 - 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Nicodemus because he asks questions and is a little bit obtuse about Jesus’ answers but follows him anyway.

  97. Carol Corrigan's Gravatar Carol Corrigan
    March 12, 2019 - 9:24 pm | Permalink

    I love James because he’s imperfect.
    Like us he tries to avert it.
    He sleeps by Christ’s side,
    Runs when he’s crucified.
    But finally for Christ, he’s kicked it.

    • MaryMargaret's Gravatar MaryMargaret
      March 13, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

      Good one, Carol – I agree with you!

  98. Mary-Theresa Anderson's Gravatar Mary-Theresa Anderson
    March 12, 2019 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this was really close!!

  99. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 12, 2019 - 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Nicodemus, because I see him as one who comes to Christ gradually, rather than all at once. I have always had a problem with being asked, “When were you saved?” Some can point to a particular time when they came to faith, but others come gradually. There’s room for everyone.

  100. March 13, 2019 - 12:08 am | Permalink

    Nic-o-demus, Nic-o-demus, Nic-o-demus … !

  101. Terrie Ann Wallace's Gravatar Terrie Ann Wallace
    March 13, 2019 - 12:37 am | Permalink

    i liked that Nicodemus waited until all the crowds, etc. were gone and approached Jesus for the first time at night in order to talk with him one on one which would take a huge amount of courage. Unlike the sons of Thunder, he followed quietly, and let his actions speak volumns. At Christ’s death despite his keeping in the background, he also thought to bring the spices to anoint with showing how much deep down he believed that Christ was the son of God and worthy of being treated with reverence, and honor.

  102. Candace's Gravatar Candace
    March 13, 2019 - 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I’ll vote for Nicodemus. Although James has followed Jesus through his ministry, Nicodemu has come late to know Jesus, yet he is clearly transformed by his encounters. Given the volatile political situation of the times, it took a lot of courage to clain Jesus’ body and prepare it so lavishly for burial. . Additionally, even Paul denied Jesus at the Sanhedrin questioning, so Nicodemus is not to be judged too harshly. He spoke up for the laws and then finally took care of all that was left to him of the holiness he had encountered by honoring Jesus earthly remains.

  103. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 14, 2019 - 11:28 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Nicodemus. I agree with what Jenny said. I also admire his courage in standing up for Jesus and also that he prepared Jesus’ body for burial.

Comments are closed.