How ironic is it that two men, who kept their relationship with Jesus on the down low, would be highlighted and named in Scripture?
Joseph of Arimathea is called a “secret” disciple because he feared the Jews. Nicodemus would only go to Jesus at night so that his fellow Jews wouldn’t know.
How is it that these two men came to be the ones to handle the body of Jesus? Pilate hands the body over, not to blood relatives as would be the custom, but to Joseph of Arimathea. It is Nicodemus that arrives with a very costly amount of spices to preserve the body. Both men wrap the body of Jesus in linens quite reminiscent of Mary wrapping Jesus in cloth at his birth. It is these two men who place his body in the tomb.
What are we to make of such a thing? They went from fearful followers to family. Their faith overcame their fear. In the bright light of day, with Jesus dead on the cross, they had nothing to gain and everything to lose (in an earthly sense) by revealing their faith in Him now.
I call it grace. God didn’t leave them in their shame and silence. In his sovereignty, God allowed them the opportunity to honor Jesus in a tangible, hands on, risk the ridicule way.