Wednesday, April 16, 2003

At The End. According to the Gospel of John:
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
* * *

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away.
39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.
40 Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.
41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.
42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
At the end there were just two of them: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

Joseph was described as a secret follower and Nicodemus, who visited Jesus under cover of darkness were not two stalwart disciples -- neither one proclaimed him or stood up for him while he was alive. Yet they were there at the end when his number one man had denied him, another had betrayed him and he was hanging lifeless on a criminal's cross.

Joseph and Nicodemus.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that Joseph gave his own tomb for Jesus' body -- so that it wouldn't go the way of the remains of common criminals.

Who were these two? I heard Sam Ericsson once say that they were both lawyers -- or at least teacher of the law -- which seems consistent with their few mentions in the scriptures. It's a small point of professional pride.

Neither one gets more than a handful of mentions in the Scriptures, yet they were there at the end.