38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.[a] 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.
After Jesus’s crucifixion, it was up to His most faithful followers to conduct the burial. What is notable about this passage is who is not there – namely, none of the 12 disciples who had been following Jesus and whom, just a few chapters earlier in John 15:15, Jesus had called his “friends.” They were understandably confused, scared and perhaps even disillusioned; the man they had been following and whom they thought was the messiah was killed like a common criminal. So, instead of honoring Jesus through a ceremonial burial, they ran away and hid.
Joseph of Arimathea (who was a member of the Sanhedrin) and Nicodemus, on the other hand, risked their reputations and even their lives to honor their crucified rabbi. Their act of devotion to Jesus – even after it seemed impossible that Jesus was actually the Christ – was a testament to their faith and love. Similarly, our deepest moments of hopelessness, confusion and despair are opportunities to act in faith and love as we trust God’s greater plans through Jesus.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Lord we ask you to shield the world from panic and despair as Your Church boldly proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ. In this uncertain time, may people find true comfort and peace in their souls as they call upon Your Name.