One of the more remarkable demonstrations of giving is found in the story of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who came forward at the most critical moments in Jesus’ death! All four of the gospel accounts tell the story of Joseph going to Pilate to request Jesus’ body after his death but only John’s Gospel includes Nicodemus in the scenario. We read in the 19th chapter of John’s Gospel: “And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came therefore, and took away his body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 100 pounds weight. And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wraps with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid”, (v.38-41 NASB). First, Joseph of Arimathea showed great confidence in going before Pilate to request the body of Jesus. Mark’s gospel tells us that “he went boldly” into Pilate’s presence. Whatever kind of disciple Joseph had been before Jesus’ death he now demonstrates great courage that motivates him not only to speak up for Jesus but to give to Jesus certainly one of his most treasured possessions. That possession of course being his new burial tomb in Jerusalem. For Jews both in Jesus’ time and even to this day being buried in Jerusalem is counted a high privilege. The fact that this tomb had never been used speaks of Joseph’s wealth and his willingness to surrender one of his most treasured possessions for the use of the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of what Joseph must’ve been feeling in his heart that he would feel such deep sorrow and sadness that it would lead him to give this precious gift to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We see the same kind of generous spirit when we look at Nicodemus’ reaction to Jesus’ death. Nicodemus brings around 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes to anoint the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. I would like to suggest to you that these perfumes and ointments were Nicodemus’ own burial materials. This mixture would have been highly valued and yet Nicodemus comes with Joseph and anoints the body of Jesus with all these lotions and perfumes. His gift, as well Joseph’s gift, are reflections of the deep love that both of these men felt towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Love should motivate us to give the Lord Jesus Christ the very best that we have. Joseph and Nicodemus had been silent in speaking up for Jesus Christ and yet at this critical moment of decision they chose to stand with Jesus when everyone else was running away. Not only did they choose the stand with Jesus but they gave Jesus their most treasured possessions. What are we willing to lay on the altar for the One who died for us? What precious gifts can we bring to put at the disposal of the Lord Jesus Christ who became poor so that we could become rich? That is a challenging thought for this Easter season. Let us consider what’s important in our lives and how the Lord Jesus Christ can use our most treasured possessions for His glory and honor.
Serving the Risen Savior,
Pastor Rich Sivo