The story of Joseph and Nicodemus invites us to consider our own commitment to Christ, even when it may be unpopular or require sacrifice, and our willingness to be associated with him.
Matthew 27:57-61 — Two Brave Men
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on Matthew 27:57-61. Listen.
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
Let me introduce you to two men today: Joseph and Nicodemus, who were secret followers of Jesus. Joseph was a rich and influential man from Arimathea, a town in Judea. After Jesus' death, he bravely approached Pilate to request permission to take Jesus' body and give him a proper burial.
Pilate granted his request, and Joseph, along with another Jew named Nicodemus, took down the body of Jesus from the cross. They used a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds in weight that Nicodemus had brought, to prepare Jesus' body for burial. They wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a new tomb that Joseph had prepared for himself. You will find a reference to Nicodemus' involvement in John's gospel (see John 19:38-42).
Both Joseph and Nicodemus were prominent members of the Sanhedrin, who had consistently opposed Jesus. They were the ones most responsible for his crucifixion. By associating themselves openly with Jesus, Joseph and Nicodemus were risking their reputation and position in the council.
Their willingness to step out of the shadows and identify themselves as followers of Jesus speaks of the transformative nature of Christ once one has a proper encounter with him. All it takes to have this encounter is an open heart. I challenge anyone who honestly desires to know the truth to seek it sincerely and not find Christ! However, more often than not, we don't have to courage to do this.
When we discover Jesus, we should be bold enough to proclaim his name, even though it may have repercussions. The ramifications for not proclaiming his name, however, might be worse. As Jesus said, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38). Not nice, no? So, let us never be ashamed of Jesus.
May the Spirit be with you.