John 19. 38-39
38 Now after these things Joseph from Arimathea (heights), who was a secret disciple of Jesus because he was afraid of the Jews, asked Pilate if he might take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave his permission and he came and took His body.
39 Then Nicodemus also came, carrying about one hundred pounds of a mixture of myrrh and aloes. He was the one who first came to Him at night time.
When we consider the removal from the cross and the burial of the body of Jesus we must remember that Jesus was a Galilean. Therefore, He had died a long way from His home and a possible family burial place.
The possibility of His body being transported back to Nazareth was remote. Also we only know that Mary, His mother, was in Jerusalem, we do not know about the rest of His family.
Even if they had have been there it is unlikely that they would have had the finances to transport His body back to Nazareth.
All the disciples, bar John, had deserted Jesus. Apparently not giving any thought about the burial of their Master. They did not seem to have considered the Law that stated that no one should be left hanging on a tree over night, or into a Sabbath day.
Their main concern seems to have been to preserve their own safety.
A dignified burial of the body of Jesus appears to have not been a priority for them. Fear can have a paralyzing effect on us; it can present us with barriers that make us act in uncharacteristic ways. Perhaps we would have acted in the same way if we were under the strain of fear the disciples experienced.
It can be all too easy for us to state how we would re-act in certain circumstances when we are not in those circumstances. In this there can also be an implied criticism of the failure of others to act in what we might consider to be most honouring to Jesus.
Therefore, we must not criticise the fact that the disciples did not take any action to bury the body of Jesus. Instead we must try and understand the strain of fear that they were under. They perhaps remembered the words of Jesus the previous night:
And Jesus says to them: “all of you will be offended, because it has been written: “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered”– Mark 14.27. Jesus was quoting from Zechariah 13.7.
Their Shepherd had been struck down, and they were in hiding away from those who had killed Him.
We will all face fears of various kinds, and we will all succumb to different fears. Let us pray for each other to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to meet those fears, and also to pray for one another when we hide because of fear.