Crucifixion was the most horrible form of execution man has ever devised. It was such a degrading thing that those crucified could not be buried in a traditional cemetery. Very often their bodies were just cast on the garbage dump outside the city. Since He was crucified, Jesus would have been considered unclean and denied burial in a Jewish cemetery. But for some reason, a rich man intervened.
Joseph of Arimathea was a very wealthy and powerful Jew. Even though he was a member of the ruling council, he had at some time chosen to become a follower of Christ. But he was also afraid of what his fellow Jews would think and what it would do to his wealth, prominence, and influence. So to protect himself, he kept his love for Christ a secret. Yet, there was something in Jesus’ death that caused him to go public. In fact, he went so public that he went before Pilate and ask for permission to bury Jesus in a tomb that had been reserved for his family. Now that was a public profession of faith! The request of Joseph was granted. While John was troubled about the burial of his Master, Joseph returned with Pilate’s order for the body of Christ; and Nicodemus came bringing a costly mixture of myrrh and aloes, of about a hundred pounds’ weight, for His embalming. The most honored in all Jerusalem could not have been shown more respect in death. The disciples were astonished to see these wealthy rulers as much interested as they themselves in the burial of their Lord.
Let me ask you a question. In your daily life, are you really one of those secret Christians? Would people at the office know for sure that you’re a follower of Christ? Would your family? Would your neighbors? This Easter, use Joseph’s example to move from being a “secret” follower to a “public” follower of Christ.