The Burial of Jesus
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. 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. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 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. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
John 19:38-42 (NIV)
Jesus this was a remarkable turn of events. Immediately after your arrest in Gethsemane the soldiers took you first to Annas, the previous High Priest and the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. In the courtyard under cover of darkness you were tried and condemned to death in a kangaroo court. The Sanhedrin, that esteemed assembly of pious men, broke all of their own rules to find you guilty of blasphemy before handing you over to Pilate.
It is true that a common enemy will make strange bed fellows. The corrupt High Priest and the cruel governor conspired to send you to your death. Now, Joseph and Nicodemus, both members of the Sanhedrin, risk their necks to give you a descent burial. We are told they were secret followers, disciples incognito.
Lord Christ, I am aware that you still have secret disciples, those who follow but must live in caution in places where Christians are persecuted. I pray for them and their protection. But I don’t have to be a secret follower. Help me to live unashamed of the Gospel so that others will know that I follow you as my Lord and my Savior.