Joseph and Nicodemus are two unlikely characters that enter the scene at this point. I would have expected some of the disciples to boldly step out and take care of Jesus’ body the day between his crucifixion and his resurrection. Yet, instead, we see a rich man and a pharisee take center stage. Interestingly, they were both “secret” disciples of Jesus. We do not know anything about Joseph of Arimathea before this scene. In the Gospel of Luke, we read that he was a man looking for the kingdom of God and thus had tremendous courage to ask the Roman leader Pilate for the body of Jesus. What a bold move!
We read about Jesus’ nocturnal encounter with Nicodemus in John chapter three, where Jesus tells the Pharisee that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, one must be born again. Then right afterwards, we read the most famous passage in all of the Bible, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” We do not know if or how Nicodemus responds to Jesus in that encounter, but we do see his response in full display in this scene. Nicodemus and Joseph go from backstage to center stage here as they boldly step forward and play a crucial part in the passion narrative of God’s one and only Son.
Stepping out boldly for Jesus can be intimidating. Like Joseph and Nicodemus, we may fear what others may think or say about us and even do to us. I hope that at the end of today, we can take courage and play a part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity as we boldly share about His love through our words and our actions.