2012-03-22 / Worship

Jesus is buried by two secret believers according to the Gospel

(Mark 15:42-47; John 19:38-42)

After hours of suffering, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was finished. Read Mark 15:42-47, and John 19:38-42.

“Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsel lor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead” (Mark 15:43-44).

Christ was crucified on the day before the sabbath, a strictly observed day of rest. Because it would not be right for the work of a execution to extend into the sabbath, the soldiers broke the legs of the criminals on the crosses to either side of Jesus in order to hasten their deaths. But, when the soldiers approached Jesus to break his legs, He was already dead and Pilate couldn’t understand why. Jesus was the Lamb Sacrifice for the sins of the world and, as such, it was important that He go to the altar of death unblemished.

The Gospel of John introduces Joseph of Arimathaea, “Being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38a). We already know from John 3:2 that Nicodemus, too, was a secret disciple, and this is confirmed in John 19:39, “And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night.” These two followers demonstrated great love for Jesus as they generously anointed his body with precious myrrh and aloe, wrapped it in the finest linen and lay it in Joseph’s own private tomb.

But, “The scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:11). We can not be secret disciples of Jesus. We must let our belief in Jesus be known to everyone we encounter in life. John 21:15-17 tells us that, speaking to Peter after the Resurrection, Jesus repeated this command three times for emphasis, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knoweth that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus had reason to be secretive. Their beliefs as followers of Jesus placed them in real danger. But we need not be fearful. We should live our faith generously, feeding his sheep, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Return to top