31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” 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.[c] 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.
This passage describes the rest of the activities that happened as the evening drew close on that first Good Friday. The people who were involved in dealing with the people who had been crucified (including Jesus) wanted to get everything sorted before sun down so they could participate in Passover activities. There is a great contrast between the first and second half of this passage. The first part sounds quite callous – they wanted to break the legs of those being crucified so they could finish what was needed. The second part about Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus shows people who were concerned that the body of Jesus was treated with respect and dignity.
It is easy sometimes to be so focused on getting everything organized or a task completed that we don’t realize how we appear to others – how they might feel ignored or discarded or unimportant. What God would want of us is to be more like Joseph and Nicodemus – to go out of our way to treat those around us with respect, dignity and love – that the people come first not the tasks.
Thank you for such a picture Lord. Help us to have the attitude of Joseph and Nicodemus in all we do. Help us to treat all those we come into contact with well.
Written by Therese Manning