Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. John 19:38-42
Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea prepared Jesus’ body for burial and laid it in the tomb. It was obviously not a task for one person since the spices alone weighed 75 pounds. Both men were Jewish leaders and both were clearly followers of Jesus. They too must have been in mourning at the task at hand. I’m trying to imagine their conversation as they prepared the body. Did they “get” what was going on, and how they would have a part in the burial and resurrection story? No one knows. They did their part and we know nothing else about them.
Do you realize your part in the Gospel story? No, it’s nothing like those two leaders, but you do play a part.
As each seed is planted, as each tract is handed out, as each moral stance is taken, as each soul is won to Christ, as each prayer is prayed, it furthers the Gospel story. T
he story itself is a rock solid “faith in Christ alone” salvation. The continuation of the story, however, is a small part we can play. God used two nervous Jewish leaders as a big part of the actual story, but he’s using us as well. Could He do it without our feeble help? Absolutely. But that he chooses to further the kingdom of God through us is yet another great and unsatisfiable mystery.