John 19. 38-39 cont.
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.
Myrrh is a bitter gum and expensive perfume. It was used as an antiseptic and for embalming.
Aloes probably comes from the eaglewood tree, which produce resin used in making perfumes. This was mixed with myrrh for embalming.
There are things about all of us that other people do not know.
On discovering something about another person, who we thought we knew reasonable well, we might say: “Well, I never knew that about them”.
Many years ago I was speaking with someone about the need for people to turn to Jesus, thinking he was a non-believer. To my surprise he corrected my false understanding. In the previous conversations we had had he had never declared any hint of faith in Jesus. He could have been described as a ‘secret disciple’.
This was how John described both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
If the disciples of Jesus were fearful during and after the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, these two men were the opposite. They had been fearful of the Jews before the death of Jesus. However, once Jesus had died they came to the aid of Mary with a plan to bury His body.
John records that they were secret disciples. They were Joseph from Arimathea and Nicodemus, the teacher in Israel.
They were both members of the ruling Jewish council, the Sanhedrin. Therefore, it is likely that they were in attendance when Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin.
They both sought to prevent the body of Jesus being disposed of in an unceremonious way.
Luke gives us a little more information about Joseph:
50 There was a man called Joseph, a council member, he was a good and righteous man –
51 And he did not agree with the council or their action – He was from the Jewish city of Arimathea (heights), and he was looking for the Kingdom of God – Luke 23.50-51
All we know about Arimathea is that it was a town in Judah. Joseph would have been in Jerusalem for the Passover celebrations. He had a fresh tomb in which no one had been buried (Luke 23.23). He must have been a rich man to have had his own tomb cut into a rock face at Golgotha.
This is prophesied in Isaiah 53.9:
He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave – (NLT).