Text: John 19: 38-42
Text verse: John 19:38
It is striking that in chapter 12: 42-43 John refers to the Jews who secretly worship Jesus, but he refers to them in a negative sense because he says that they preferred to be honoured by people rather than by God. By following Jesus in secret, they were still able to protect their position among the Jews.
In this case, John refers to Joseph and Nicodemus in a positive sense because something has changed in them. Joseph and Nicodemus are willing to risk their reputation by asking Pilate for Jesus’ body.
They had a lot to lose. We read in the other Gospels that Joseph was a rich man (Matt. 27:57) and on top of that, he was also a prominent member of the Jewish Council (Mark 15:43). By the nature of his position, he had prestige and power.
Yet he uses his position to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body. This was at a time when the Jews’ hatred of Jesus was reaching its peak. So, they treat Jesus’ body with great reverence.
It’s easy to put something at stake that is not worth much to you, but when your life can be drastically changed by that something, it’s a different story.
In the case of Joseph and Nicodemus, we see that Jesus’ death brought them to the point of putting everything at stake. They were willing to undergo that drastic change for Jesus’ sake.
The question we are faced with here is, what are we not willing to give up?
It is easy to follow Jesus when you are in the comfort and security of your own home or while people respect you and you have food security. But what if it’s all threatened?
After all, Jesus says that he who wants to keep his life for himself, will lose it (Mark 8: 36-38).
When John tells in chapter 2 about Nicodemus’ secret visit to Jesus (also see John 3: 1-15), he made it clear that it was at night. In this case, John points out to the readers that this happened in public. Nicodemus and Joseph’s relationship with Jesus reached a new level. A level where a relationship with Him was more important and valuable to them than all the prestige and wealth they had in the world.
In other words, their love for Jesus and what He meant to them was different. We have so much more reason to feel that way about Jesus. Unlike Joseph and Nicodemus (at that time), we also know that He rose from the dead. We now know that His death was caused by our sin. He died for us and death was overcome.
Jesus’ special love for us must change our lives. There is nothing in this life that is more valuable than a relationship with Jesus.
It’s like someone helping a friend who is deeply in debt, by buying a painting for N$5 000. However, he does not attach much value to the painting, so the painting ends up in the storeroom. Later he goes into the storeroom with another friend to show him something and the friend sees the painting lying there. The friend then points out to him that it is a famous painter’s work and when they do some research, they see that the painting is worth millions. Needless to say, the painting gains a place of honour in the home.
When we realise how enormous Jesus’ love is, our relationship with Him will be the highest priority in our lives. We can lose everything, and we will still be rich while believing in Him.