Bible Reading: John 19:38-42
The whole of the Sanhedrin and the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to be crucified, with the exception of two men. One we have met earlier in John’s Gospel, and the other was a man known as Joseph of Arimathea.
We first met Nicodemus when he was seeking truth, and came to Jesus by night [John chapter 3]. We met him a second time in John 7:45-52, when he opposed the Sanhedrin’s rejection of Jesus, and he was insulted and mocked for daring to stand up for Jesus. He has often been called a secret disciple, but his support of Jesus was very open and brave.
Joseph of Arimathea was a man that the Bible tells us little about, although he is mentioned in all four Gospels. We know that he was wealthy [Matthew 27:57], that he was also a member of the Council, or Sanhedrin, the group of religious leaders who called for Jesus’ crucifixion. Luke calls him a good man, and says specifically that Joseph had not consented to the decision to have Jesus crucified [Luke 23:50-51]. Mark adds about Joseph that he was, “waiting for the kingdom of God” [Mark 15:43]. God has His men in the most remarkable of places!
Joseph of Arimathea was very courageous and came to Pilate on the same day that Jesus was crucified and asked for His body [Mark 15:43]. Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead, and gave permission for him to take Jesus’ body [Mark 15:45]. Nicodemus joined him bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes. These weighed about one hundred pounds and would have been very expensive. They prepared Jesus’ body for burial in the traditional Jewish manner. Because it was still the Day of Preparation – the sixth day of the week, just before the Jewish Sabbath – and it was late in the day, Joseph and Nicodemus placed Jesus’ body in Joseph’s own tomb, located in a garden close to the place where Jesus was crucified.
What a remarkable story! Two Jewish religious leaders who were sincerely seeking God’s kingdom, and who were prepared to openly challenge, by their actions, those who had demanded His crucifixion. They were even prepared to be sacrificial in giving Him a decent burial and at considerable cost to themselves! We never hear anything else in the Bible about Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, and so any further thoughts can only be theoretical. However, we read that after Pentecost that, “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” [Acts 6:7]. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were part of that and that God had rewarded their faithfulness!
Why do you think that Nicodemus and Joseph were included in God’s Word?
Why is it important that we are both wise, and take a stand for Jesus amongst those who are opposed to Him?
Why do you think that God puts such a premium on faithfulness?