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  • Writer's pictureEast Martin CRC

More in Death than in Life

John 19:38-42

Isaiah 53:9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Having given up His spirit on the cross it was now time for the bodies to be removed from the crosses. Two men from the Sanhedrin come out of their secret devotion to Christ and one of them, Joseph from Arimathea, which is about 15-20 miles northwest of Jerusalem, goes to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body. This kept Jesus from getting the normal burial of a criminal.

Burial in Israel isn’t the same as we are used to in America, because of the terrain. Bodies would be placed on a shelf-like slab in a cave-like tomb, wrapped in clothe that was filled with many spices to override the odors of decaying flesh. When the bones that were all that were left they would be boxed and placed on another shelf in the same tomb.

A rich man like Joseph wanted such a tomb for his family that wouldn’t have to be shared with other grieving families. But this man that had just seen Jesus die. Though a secret disciple, Joseph had come to understand that Jesus wasn’t just a mere man. He had seen some of the miracles and had heard Him preach various times throughout His ministry. His love and belief in the man he admired in secret brought him to the decision that he had to give Him the use of the brand new grave.

The other secret disciple who chose to come forward to assist, and thereby also step into the open about his belief in the man that had just been crucified, was Nicodemus. He is only mentioned as Joseph’s partner in burying Jesus in John’s gospel. This man had been a secret follower of Jesus since early in Jesus’ ministry. In fact it was his question to Jesus that gave us the verse most well-known by Christians and non-Christians alike – John 3:16.

These men knew there would be consequences to their becoming known as His followers but they had finally realized that they would rather be known as His followers than those who killed God’s prophet. They were proclaiming with their lives that Jesus was more important to them than their status with the other religious leaders.

Making It Personal

In what way do you live like a secret disciple of Christ? What is the motive? What choices are you going to make to change?

Making It Personal Kids

Do you sometimes pretend that you don’t like Jesus because those you are with don’t love Him? Why do you pretend not to love Him? How can you make sure that you always show you love Him?

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for loving us even when we don’t live out loud for You. Please convict us of times that we don’t stand tall for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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