Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. 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)
A small act of mercy on the part of Joseph of Arimathea meant that Jesus’ limp and lifeless body would not be thrown into a pit of a grave, but laid carefully in a rock-hewn garden tomb. Joseph was probably a man with significant conflicts. Wealthy, a prominent member of the Jewish council, he represented the very establishment that was committed to Jesus’ demise. Yet he believed in Jesus, secretly. To believe in Jesus does put one on the spot. Being a committed disciple of Jesus always upsets the status quo.
Nicodemus, also fearful but compelled, came to the tomb too. So there two men, both of whose associations put them at odds with Jesus, both of whom really wanted to believe, are the ones who respectfully wrap the body of Jesus in cloths and seventy-five pounds of spices. Yet the only thing that can really take away the stench of death and its empty stare is resurrection.
These and the other disciples were still stuck in that no-man’s-land between life and death. All that Jesus’ followers had to hold onto were Jesus’ vague words about rising from death. Could such words be taken seriously at all? What would they do in these days? Would they be arrested next? And so they waited behind locked doors because there was nothing else to do.
Ponder This: Is there some way in which you are waiting to see what will happen next? How will you find faith in the waiting place?
Reprinted with permission from The Brook Network.