38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. 39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. 40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. 41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. 42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Jesus has died on the cross. Passover is due to start in a matter of hours, and so Jesus is removed by a secret wealthy disciple, Joseph of Arimathea, (see Matt 27:59-60) and a Pharisee, Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-21). These two men then proceed to perform the Jewish burial custom with very costly spices.
In thinking on this passage, I’m struck that there is a reversal here. None of Jesus’s disciples, the men that loved him, that had walked with him for three years, who understood who he was, were there to do this harrowing task but two secret followers were now publicly showing their belief by honouring Jesus in his death.
I’ve often wondered what I would do if a situation ever arose where I needed to openly display my faith as a believer at the cost of my life or worse, a life of being completely ostracised. Would I stand and honour Jesus or would I hide? I’d like to think that I would stand.
Lord, I pray that I would have the courage to stand and not hide my faith in Jesus, no matter the situation, that I would bring honour and glory to you always.
Written by Suzie Hodgson