Friday

22 April 2011

John 19:13-42

"After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, aksed 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." (vv. 38-39)

Background

Good Friday brings us to the point of remembering Jesus' death and burial. We can often neglect these verses from John's Gospel about Jesus being placed in the tomb. Yet the fact that Jesus' death concludes with the stone being rolled in front of the tomb sets the scene for its rolling away (John 20:1)!

Joseph and Nicodemus are powerful and influential people (Luke 23:50-51John 3:1). They had access to the most powerful people in the Roman Empire. They were in such high standing that even the request for the body of one charged with being a rebellious leader, was granted.

These two characters act secretly and clandestinely throughout their lives. They met with Jesus in darkness and in secret. They remained fearful for their own security and safety, and yet were compelled towards Jesus and his teaching. Even in the darkness and in the darkest times, they were able to demonstrate the importance of hope and light.

Nicodemus had had an early conversation with Jesus (John 3:1-21). There, Nicodemus covertly and secretly met with Jesus in the depths of night. It is almost as if Nicodemus' spiritual journey is paralleled with Jesus' earthly ministry. Nicodemus has obviously stuck around and continued to be discipled by Jesus.

One hundred pounds worth of myrrh and aloes is a huge amount. It demonstrates Nicodemus' devotion to Jesus, even after all this time. It also reflects once more on the wealth of both Nicodemus and Joseph.

That Jesus is put into a new tomb makes us realise that Jesus remained undefiled and uncontaminated, even after death.

With the aromas flooding the scene, the tomb is sealed.

To Ponder

Why do you think Pilate gave permission to Joseph and Nicodemus to take Jesus' body?

What would you have written above Jesus' head on the cross?

What is important about Good Friday for you?


Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Joanne Cox-Darling (1)

Joanne Cox-Darling is a Methodist presbyter currently serving in the Wolverhampton Circuit, where most recently she participated in a harvest festival in a farmyard, surrounded by a 'small' dairy herd of nearly 200 cattle. Joanne is the chair of the Christian Enquiries Agency (www.christianity.org.uk) - described by the Archbishop of York as the "possibly the easiest form of evangelism you will ever do".