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. 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. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Buried Like a King
Joseph was a rich man and Nicodemus was a member of the ruling council of Israel. In including them both in this part of the story, John wants to show that Jesus was honored in his death. When kings die dignitaries and important people attend their death. They are often buried in grand tombs. In the gospel of John, Jesus has been enthroned on the cross and raised up high. He is now being given a king’s burial.
A second point in this passage is the secret nature of some of Jesus’ followers. Although the discipleship of Nicodemus and Joseph is secret it is sincere. At great personal risk they take Jesus’ body and attend to it the best they can. They spend their own resources in honouring the dead Jesus and they lay him in a beautiful garden.
Jesus, you are our king and we submit our resources to you. Our time, energy and money are yours to use as you will.
- Who takes care of Jesus’ body?
- How are they described?
- How is Jesus shown to be a king?
- How are your resources used to honour Jesus as king?
- Are those who keep their allegiance to Jesus secret in Muslim countries second-class disciples?