The Joe & Nico Duo

(Mark 19:38-42)

Joseph of Arimathea was the man who asked Pontius Pilate for the body of Jesus.  Who was this bold fellow? 

Joseph was a rich man (Matthew 27:57) from the insignificant town of Arimathea.  He was from a small town but made it big.  What line of business was he in?  The Bible does not say.  His business is none of our business. 


But we know that he became a member of the Council (Luke 23:50, Mark 15:43), the Sanhedrin which arrested Jesus and handed him over to the Romans to be crucified.  Should he be on our Boo List then?  No, for Luke tells us he was a “good and upright man who had not consented to their (Sanhedrin) decision and action” against Jesus (23:50, 51).


Why did he ask Pilate for Jesus’ body?  Was he an undertaker?  Again, no.  He was a disciple of Jesus (Matt 27:57), “but secretly, because he feared the Jews” (John 19:38).  Then why did he suddenly go “boldly” to Pilate (Mark 15:43) to ask for Jesus’ body and openly take it down and bury it?  Wouldn’t that identify him as Jesus’ disciple at a time when the disciples were probably being hunted down?  Wasn’t he afraid anymore?  Why not?


Hmmm, I wonder on what grounds he asked for Jesus’ body.  How did he get quick access to Pilate?  Was it because Pilate knew him as “a prominent member of the Council” (Mark 15:43)?  Was that why Pilate released the body to him?


When Joe went to Pilate, it was getting dark (Matt 27:57, Mark 15:42).  Pilate summoned the centurion overseeing the crucifixions, and verified that Jesus was in fact dead.  After getting Pilate’s permission, Joseph stopped somewhere and “bought some linen cloth” (Mark 15:46). After all this, wouldn’t it be dark by then?  Wow, buying the cloth must have taken some doing, for all shops closed at sunset when the Sabbath started. 


So Joe went out in the dark to find a corpse.  Scary, wasn’t it?  The body was still on the cross.  How do we know this?  Because Mark 15:46 and Luke 23:53 record that Joseph “took down the body”.  But how did Joe get the body down from the cross, in the dark, alone?  So he wasn’t alone was he?  Who helped him?


Would you believe it was Nicodemus (John 19:39), the Sanhedrin member who secretly came to Jesus at night (John 3:2) because he was afraid to be seen with Jesus?  Now here was Nicodemus, helping to bring down the cross and Jesus’ body, getting blood on his hands and perhaps his clothes, and running the risk of becoming known as Jesus’ disciple.  What came over Nicodemus and took away his fear?


Wait, does the Bible say Joe and Nico brought down the cross?  No.  But consider how difficult it would have been to climb up (they would have needed a ladder) to the height of Jesus’ nailed hands to extract 22 cm. nails driven right in, to carry the weight of Jesus.  If a nail was extracted from one arm, the body would fall and swing wildly and its whole weight would hang on one nail, tearing the flesh.  Would the two disciples want such indignities to happen to their Master?  Would you?  Or would you bring down the cross gently, and then extract the nails?


Did Nicodemus just happen to pass by when Joe came to get Jesus’ body?  No way.  Why?  Because “Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds” of it (John 19:39).  Would you carry around seventy-five pounds of funeral materials for fun, at night?  Plus nail-extracting tools and torches?  So did Joe and Nico pre-plan the whole operation?


Now, Nicodemus was never called Nicodemus of some place, was he?  So why “Joseph of Arimathea”?  Was it to differentiate this Joseph from the other Joseph in the Gospels:  Joseph of Bethlehem, who later moved to Nazareth?


Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus of Somewhere, what brave men and dedicated disciples they were.  When all the other disciples were crushed by the “defeat” of Jesus and cowered in fear, they saw his victory and lost their fear.


Dr John Lim spoke on the topic, “How Strong Faith Operates” based on the experience of the official in John 4:43-54. Strong faith operates when the following is put into  action:


·               Hearing the Word

·               Believing the Word

·               Obeying the Word

·               Resting in the Word


And last, but not least, “Focusing on the Object of Faith,” Jesus Christ.


Dr Ng Peh Cheng was the Chapel speaker on 20 October.


“Calling & Work

of a Pastor”

 by Dr Bruce Milne

Dates: 16-19 November

Time: 7:15-9:15pm

Venue: Zion Bible-Presbyterian Church, 4 Bishan St. 13

Dr Bruce Milne, a Scot, was senior minister of First Baptist Church, Vancouver, Canada, and was formerly lecturer in Biblical and Historical Theology at Spurgeon's College, London.  He has served with the church in East Africa and the UK, and has written a number of books and articles on biblical and theological subjects, including "The Message of John" in IVP's "The Bible Speaks Today" series and "Know the Truth - A Handbook   of Christian belief"

. For registration and details, please contact us at tel. 63538071 or email:


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A Blessed Birthday to…

Mrs Ng Soh May  18/10

Mr Kevin Teo  18/10

Ms Lee Siew Lan  19/10

Dr Tan Poh Kiang  19/10

Mdm Tey Lay Yong  19/10

Mdm Sharlene Yeo  19/10

Ms Joyce Carino  20/10

Mr Andy Sng  21/10

Mr Mark Sng  22/10

Mrs Samantha Azhar  23/10

Mr Michael Han  23/10

Mr David Au  23/10

Mr Peter Low  24/10

Mr Peter Soh  24/10

Mr Andy Aw  24/10

Rev Ian Heng  25/10

Dr Lee Chien Earn  25/10

Mr Michael Teoh  26/10

Mrs Katherine Yip  28/10

Ms Amilia Chai  28/10

Mr Matthias Chin  28/10

Mr Philip Chua  30/10

Ms Tracy Tang  30/10

Dr Edwin Low  30/10

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