Giving Up Their Own Cleanliness for Jesus
After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths 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. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
If there were any question as to Jesus’ death, this segment answers it. Brave Joseph and Nicodemus asked Pilate if they could take the body and bury it. After all that Pilate went through that day, and the brutal man that he was, they were lucky they didn’t get locked up or killed too!
They took the body along with 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes and embalmed Jesus. His body would have been cleaned off with water, then wrapped and wrapped with linens and the mixture of myrrh and aloe. The whole process would have been hard work done with a deep sense of reverence and a big part of the mourning/grieving process for Joseph and Nicodemus.
If Jesus would have been simply unconscious or in a coma or in a trance, He would have been killed by the embalming process of Joseph and Nicodemus and they would have told a very different story.
They both left in a state of being unclean. Whatever celebration of Passover or the Sabbath that they were going to participate in would have been called off. They weren’t allowed to do any of it since they were unclean. They knew that Jesus was more important than the Sabbath and more important than celebrating Passover, so they risked the encounter with Pilate and the violation of the Mosaic cleanliness laws to serve Jesus – even after His death.
We all have a role to play in the great story of what God is doing. Joseph was unheard of before this, and Nicodemus was unheard of after John 3, but they were both close to Jesus in that time, on that night. They never came up again, but what they did that day was of the utmost importance on Easter morning.