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The Romans typically did not bury the bodies of crucified criminals. Instead, they left the bodies on the ground, allowing animals and birds to consume them. This practice was in stark contrast to Jewish law, which required the burial of the body on the same day (Deut 21:22-23). Therefore, special permission from Pilate was necessary to bury Jesus’ body. The male disciples of Jesus, fearing the soldiers, were in hiding and could not undertake the burial of Jesus. Additionally, they lacked the financial resources to buy a burial ground and the spices necessary for embalming Jesus’ body. Being from Galilee and in hiding, they could not afford to arrange a fitting burial within a few hours. At this critical moment, two secret friends of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, boldly emerged to take leadership and offered generous contributions.

Joseph of Arimathea was a respected member of the Sanhedrin who was waiting for the Kingdom of God. He bravely went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus for burial before sunset (Mk 15:43), and the governor granted him permission. Joseph contributed his valuable tomb, which no one had yet used, and buried Jesus there.

Joseph’s contribution of a new tomb, in which no one had been buried before, was significant for the proof of Jesus’ resurrection. If any remains of a dead body were found in the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection, it could cause doubts about His resurrection. Joseph and Nicodemus took the body, bound it in linen cloths with spices according to Jewish custom, and buried it in the tomb. They performed these tasks hurriedly between 3:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. on Friday before the start of the Passover Sabbath. “Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed” (Mt 27:60).


Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus did not publicly support Jesus before His crucifixion to maintain their membership in the Sanhedrin and protect their reputations among the Jewish leaders. Often, we may also fail to help a person in need while they are alive. However, the timely contributions of these two individuals are praiseworthy.

As Christians, we are called to emulate their example of courage and generosity. Joseph and Nicodemus risked their positions and reputations to honor Jesus in His death. Their actions remind us that true discipleship often requires boldness and sacrifice.

Let us never miss an opportunity to offer timely service to others in need. Whether it is through acts of kindness, generosity, or standing up for what is right, we can make a significant impact. The story of Joseph of Arimathea encourages us to act decisively and compassionately, even when it is inconvenient or risky. In doing so, we honor Christ and demonstrate His love to the world.

May we all be inspired to serve others selflessly and courageously, knowing that our actions, no matter how small, can have a profound impact on those around us. Let us seize every opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, bringing hope and comfort to those in need.

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