After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)
I find it very interesting that John is careful to point out that Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple, and that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. How did it come to pass that these two, who didn’t want to make their belief in Jesus known, were be the ones who cared enough to bury him?
When St. Paul’s took a trip to Jerusalem in 2012, one of the most fascinating things I remember learning was that, after more than 2000 years, there remains a dispute about what site was the actual tomb of Jesus. One was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (meaning “a tomb cut in a rock”), which is also said to contain Golgotha where Jesus was crucified. Other people believe is the tomb of Jesus is known as the Garden Tomb. To me, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre seemed much more authentic than the Garden Tomb. I felt this could be the place where Joseph and Nicodemus laid Jesus’s body. According to verse 41, the tomb was in the same garden where he was crucified.
How did these two men come to this place to bury Jesus? How are we being called to celebrate his life?
Gracious God, as the Lenten season draws to a close, help us remember to always celebrate you and the work you’re doing in our lives and around the world. Amen.
Brett Falkenhagen — Son, Partner, Friend