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.
It would seem that Nicodemus had been a secret disciple of Jesus for some time. John records that it was Nicodemus who went to Jesus at night time in order to ask Him questions. We read of this is John 3:
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees (separated), whose name was Nicodemus (conqueror); he was a ruler of the Jews.
2 This man came at night to Him and said: Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God, because no one could do the signs which You do if God is not with him.
He was impressed by Jesus, but not sufficiently to openly declare his belief in Him. It would seem that whilst Jesus was alive he kept a tight lip on his admiration for Him.
However, immediately Jesus died on the cross he declared himself to be a follower of Jesus. He did this by accompanying Joseph, carrying a huge amount of spices with which to anoint the body of Jesus for burial.
W Barclay makes the point that the amount of spices that he brought was enough to anoint a king for burial. It was an extraordinary amount. In this he displayed his intention to declare openly his faith in Jesus.
The quantity of the anointing spices may have been great, and at the time it may have seemed a service too late.
In contrast Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus with a much smaller amount of expensive nard, but she did it in front of others, whilst Jesus was still alive (John 12).
She was not afraid to display her affection and faith in Jesus during His lifetime. Whereas both Joseph and Nicodemus left the display of their affection and faith until after Jesus had died. We must remember that they probably didn’t understand that in three days time Jesus would be raised from the dead.
It is great to read of their determination to honour Jesus with a proper burial, but it is sad that their fear prevented them from coming to faith in Him before His crucifixion.
Whilst there is breath in our bodies let us be determined to make known to others that we have received Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Let us not leave it too late.