After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 75 pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it, in linen cloths with the spices, as is the custom of the Jews. John 19:38-40
Before Jesus’ crucifixion both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were secret followers of Jesus. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin and Nicodemus was a pharisee. Both feared persecution from the Jewish leaders if they openly supported Jesus.
But after Jesus’ death, both men showed courage by boldly requesting Pilate’s permission to take Jesus body and properly entomb it. Usually only a close family member could ask for the body of a condemned person. Nicodemus brought 75 pounds of Myrrh and aloes; this was a large amount, like would be used for a royal burial. These men were no longer bound by fear, instead they openly honored Jesus as king.
Immediately after Jesus’ crucifixion the disciples did not understand that Jesus would be resurrected, nor did they understand how it would drastically change their lives. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked, for the fear of the Jews,” John 20:19 NIV. Jesus appears to the disciples several times, promises the Holy Spirit will come to them, and then ascends to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. After Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit, these same men, who were previously fearful and hiding behind locked doors, boldly declared Jesus is the Messiah. As a result, in Acts 6 Luke tells us many priests became believers.
Why are these previously fearful men now bold proclaimers of the gospel? What had changed enabling them to not bow to fear? I Peter 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.” We no longer need to live in fear when we realize our home is with Christ, not here on this earth. One day, we will be resurrected too, just as Jesus was. Death holds no power over us. Jesus’ resurrection has bought us a home in heaven, in God’s presence, for eternity. Jesus is our living hope. We no longer need to live under the power of fear, because of Jesus resurrection, because he is our high priest who intercedes for us. Remember these men, give your fear to Jesus, “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7 NIV
By Grace Hunter