When Jesus died, two men came for His body. One was Nicodemus, who came to Jesus early in John’s story and met Him in the middle of the night so as not to be discovered by the Jewish elite. He would later say a few words, but just a few, in Jesus’s defense when the Jewish leaders were starting to scheme against Him. Joseph, from Arimathea, also came for the body. He, too, believed in Jesus, but only in secret because he was also a member of the Jewish elite and didn’t know what they would say.
here are two men who both quietly believed in Jesus, who both watched Him from
a relative distance, who both kept an appearance up with the world while
secretly entertaining His holiness in their heart. And it’s tempting to wonder
what the conversation went like when they both showed up to take care of His
there any posturing left? Was there any sense that they still needed to protect
their secret allegiances? What there an open confession between these two men
about all of the things they’d heard about and witnessed and hoped for with
this Jesus? Did they perhaps just look up at one another, nod knowingly, and go
about the sacred work they had undertaken? On the eve of the Sabbath, as the
sun set, on the Passover, no less, was there any more room for posturing or
pretending, or did these two men finally look up at one another and whisper,
may, at any given time, be in the presence of someone else who secretly holds
Jesus in his or her heart. We may be among brothers and sisters and not even know
it. For whatever reason, there are still many among us who are not willing or
ready to openly confess their interest in this Son of God, who have been
watching and listening from a distance or in the dark of night and building a
little place for His holiness in their hearts.
why we must be gentle with those with whom we come in contact. Gentle, and slow
to judge. It’s easy to look at someone and say that they must not be a Jesus
follower, that they must not be a Christian, that they must not have any
interest at all in knowing who our Jesus is because of something that we see in
their outward lives. But it’s not always so simple.
and Nicodemus were both members of the Jewish elite. They were both studied
men, part of the discussion and dialogue for three years about who this Jesus
was and what kind of threat He might pose to men like them. On the surface,
it’s easy to think that neither man would have much of an interest in this
Jesus at all. …until they met on the night of His death when both men showed up
prepare His body for the tomb.
of a sudden, their tenderness shows. All of a sudden, their secret love
manifests. All of a sudden, we see of them – and they see of each other – the
secret hope they’ve been holding onto.
we have our eyes open to see this in our fellow man, even in the men in whose
lives we might least expect to find it. May we meet one another on the way to
the tomb, smile knowingly, acknowledge each other’s presence, and at the very
least whisper, ‘Brother.’