One might think with the apparent death and defeat of a leader, any clandestine followers would just fade into the woodwork – to be saved the potential disgrace, if not for fear. – Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were going to have to decide.
These were “proper Jewish leaders”, both on the Sanhedrin court that condemned Jesus. I imagine them as maybe dissenting opinions to the council’s injustice. Nicodemus had once tried to be a voice of reason among them (John 7:50) and Joseph was “a good and upright man” (Luke 23:50) “waiting for the kingdom of God” (Mk 15:43). Being two people in a crowd of 70 make you feel kind of small and vulnerable. (Having been a dissenting voice many times, I know how misunderstood and unappreciated one feels.)
Hey – they were secret Jesus followers for a reason – and maybe would have stayed that way except that the disciples were notably missing in action.
The Law (Deut. 21:23) required that a body not be left overnight but be buried that same day. They might have pulled off the burial as “followers of the Law”. Call in some servants to get it handled and still maintain your reputation.
But no, I think the line has been drawn – to be for Jesus or against Him and they chose to step in to the light. (There have been occasions when it was expedient, I thought, to just not say I was a believer. But there inevitably comes a time when the position is untenable. It doesn’t have to be a crisis – but to believe permeates one’s being and …what is the saying? “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” (Emerson) – it is the same for one’s soul.)
Jesus, their Messiah, will not be shortchanged at His burial. They will do what they can to honor Him – the best of tombs, fine linen and the fragrance of myrrh and aloe. Let there be no question of their love any longer.
God is patient.
How might I be courageous for Jesus today?
About the World?
Knowing Jesus inspires one to courage.