With Pilate’s permission, [Joseph and Nicodemus] came and took the body away.
Joseph and Nicodemus had come to understand that Jesus was not the dangerous and blaspheming teacher the other religious leaders had said he was. In fact, they had become secret followers—secret, because they had feared being ridiculed or rejected by their colleagues! They probably also were afraid of losing their power and position.
No doubt they had not thought that events would actually go so far as to lead to the death of Jesus. But they saw him die with their own eyes. There was no doubt about that. That was when they determined that no matter what others thought or said, they would honor Jesus with a decent burial.
Both men were rich. They could afford to give Jesus a proper burial. It would be a burial fit for the king of Israel. No less than 75 pounds of embalming spices, and a new tomb in a garden. Jesus was placed in Joseph’s grave—in Joseph’s place. Jesus takes our place in suffering, dying, and in going to the grave.
It may seem that in terms of standing up for Jesus, Joseph and Nicodemus became brave too late. But at a time when neither Jesus’ family members nor his disciples could do anything, Nicodemus and Joseph stepped in to conduct his funeral. Are we ever brave too late? Is it ever too late to come through for Jesus?
Dear God, help us not to be afraid or ashamed of coming through for Jesus. May we not wait but put all we have at the disposal of Jesus and the cause of your kingdom. Amen.
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