The Burial of Christ
It was getting toward the end of the day on which Jesus was crucified. Now what was to be done with His body? As a crucified criminal He would not be entitled to an honorable burial.
But at this point, two rich and influential men stepped out of the shadows and made a public stand for Jesus.
One of them, Joseph of Arimathea, was a wealthy and respected leader among the Jews. He was known for his fair dealings and good character. This honorable man was waiting for the kingdom of God. Although a religious leader himself, Joseph had not agreed with the council's decision to crucify Jesus.
After it was certain that Jesus had died on the cross, Joseph went to Pilate and begged that he be given the body of Jesus, and the governor allowed him to take the corpse.
Another secret disciple joined Joseph that late afternoon and they buried Jesus together. This formerly timid follower was Nicodemus, who was also a religious leader. He had secretly interviewed Jesus at night -- probably so the other religious leaders wouldn't find out about it.
He brought with him about a 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes purchased with his own funds. The two men took the body of Jesus down from the cross and wrapped it in a linen cloth -- winding it round and round with the mixture of myrrh and spices according to the Jewish burial customs of that day.
Then Joseph and Nicodemus placed the body of Jesus in Joseph's own tomb which had been dug out of a rock near a garden. This was a new grave not far from where Jesus had been crucified.
Joseph rolled a large stone in front of the cave and then the two companions left.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus have gone down in history as true friends of Jesus of Nazareth. They risked their reputations to give a proper Jewish burial to a supposed common criminal.
There is often a high price for taking a public stand for Jesus today as well. Those who are truly redeemed will pay the price by God's grace. They will never regret it -- just as I'm sure Joseph and Nicodemus never regretted their public stand either.