How Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus Risked All to Give Jesus An Honorable Burial
As a crucified criminal in the eyes of the Law, what kind of burial do you suppose Jesus of Nazareth would normally have received?
His body would probably have been thrown into a common grave set apart for criminals. It would be risky to ask for the body of a crucified criminal so that the deceased could be given a proper burial. For anyone to obtain such a corpse, permission would have to be granted by the proper authorities, but it could be dangerous to ask for that permission.
Two influential Jewish leaders were willing to take that risk. One of these men was the wealthy and honorable Joseph of Arimathea. He had not agreed with the other religious leaders to put Jesus to death. After Jesus died on the cross, Joseph courageously approached Governor Pilate and begged that Jesus' body be given to him. Pilate granted his request.
There was another secret disciple who risked his reputation that afternoon. His name was Nicodemus. Once one night, before this sorrowful day, he had privately interviewed Jesus under cover of darkness -- perhaps for fear of being observed.
Joseph of Arimathea owned a new tomb he probably planned to use himself. That is where he and Nicodemus placed the body of Jesus. Nicodemus brought a mixture of about 100 pounds of expensive myrrh and aloes to use to prepare Jesus' body for burial. Myrrh is a type of gum resin that acts as a kind of glue. Aloes is a sweet-smelling oil used for medicinal purposes, as a fragrance, and to use to bury the dead.
The two men worked together spreading this mixture between the encircling layers of a long linen cloth purchased by Joseph. They wrapped the fabric around and around His body until it was completely sealed with the fabric cocoon and perfumed resin. They also wrapped an additional cloth around his head. After they were satisfied they had properly prepared Jesus' body for burial, Joseph rolled a large stone over the cave's opening.
These men publicly declared they were Jesus' friends! Their last act of love for Him is recorded in the Gospels. They both risked their reputations and more to give their Friend a proper burial.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus could not have known at the time that they were participating in the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy from the book of Isaiah. Here is the Scripture telling about the Messiah written over 600 hundred years before Jesus' crucifixion:
"But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich manís grave." (Isaiah 53:8b-9, NLT).
To their great joy, Jesus did not remain in Joseph's tomb for long! He rose from the dead three days later and is alive forever!
Today too it's risky standing up for Jesus, but His true friends are willing to pay the price through God's grace.
And they will never be sorry!
About the Author: Read inspirational articles about the evidence of the Resurrection by Pat Wagner at http://www.resurrection.azprophecy.com .