What Jesus Did! 'At the Worst Time Possible' — John 19:39-40

Monday, December 8, 2014

Nicodemus went with Joseph. Nicodemus was the man who had come to Jesus before and talked to him at night. Nicodemus brought about 100 pounds of spices. This was a mixture of myrrh and aloes. These two men took Jesus' body. They wrapped it in pieces of linen cloth with the spices. (This is how the Jews bury people.)
— John 19:39-40
Illustration of John 19:39-40 —  (This is how the Jews bury people.

Key Thought

Jesus had promised that the Cross on which he would be lifted up would be the power that would draw all sorts of people to him in faith. (John 12:32) For Nicodemus, the Cross was the deciding moment. On the human side of things, the Cross was the worst possible time for Nicodemus to identify with Jesus. After all, Jesus was a criminal in the eyes of Roman and Jewish authorities, a false messiah rejected by the Jews, and a dead body that could only make Nicodemus unclean. Yet Nicodemus stepped forward and helped do the loving work of burial preparation—something only a family member normally did. It was also political suicide. It rendered Nicodemus unclean for the Passover ritual that began that evening. It identified him as one of Jesus' disciples when he could possibly be put into prison, or worse. Yet the Cross has such power! Power enough to melt the heart and build the courage of one man who had everything to lose, yet he stepped out of the shadows to find his Light.

Today's Prayer

Father, thank you for the touching story of Nicodemus who came with questions to Jesus at night and found his answers at the Cross. Please teach me those same answers and give me that same dedication to the crucified Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Later, Jesus knew that everything had been done. To make the Scriptures happen he said, "I am thirsty." There was a jar full of vinegar there. So the soldiers soaked a sponge in it. They put the sponge on a branch of a hyssop plant. Then they lifted it to Jesus' mouth. Jesus tasted the vinegar. Then he said, "It is finished." Jesus bowed his head and died. This day was Preparation day. The next day was a special Sabbath day. The Jewish leaders did not want the bodies to stay on the cross on the Sabbath day. So they asked Pilate to order that the legs of the men be broken {to make them die sooner}. And they asked that the bodies of the men be taken down from the crosses. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man on the cross beside Jesus. Then they broke the legs of the other man on the cross beside Jesus. But when the soldiers came close to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead. So they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus' side. Blood and water came out. (The one who saw this happen has told about it. He told about it so that you also can believe. The things he says are true. He knows that he tells the truth.) These things happened to give full meaning to the Scriptures that said: "None of his bones will be broken" and, "People will look at the one they stuck {with the spear}." Later, a man named Joseph from Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. (Joseph was a follower of Jesus. But he did not tell people, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders.) Pilate said that Joseph could take the body of Jesus. So Joseph came and took Jesus' body away. Nicodemus went with Joseph. Nicodemus was the man who had come to Jesus before and talked to him at night. Nicodemus brought about 100 pounds of spices. This was a mixture of myrrh and aloes. These two men took Jesus' body. They wrapped it in pieces of linen cloth with the spices. (This is how the Jews bury people.) In the place where Jesus was killed on thecross, there was a garden. In the garden there was a new tomb. No person had ever been buried there before. The men put Jesus in that tomb because it was near, and the Jews were preparing to start their Sabbath day.

John 19:28-42

Related Scripture Readings

There was a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. One night Nicodemus came to Jesus. Nicodemus said, "Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No person can do these miracles that you do without God's help." Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth. A person must be born again. If a person is not born again, then that person cannot be in God's kingdom." Nicodemus said, "But if a person is already old, how can he be born again? A person cannot enter his mother's body again! So a person cannot be born a second time!" But Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth. A person must be born from water and the Spirit. If a person is not born from water and the Spirit, then he cannot enter God's kingdom. A person's body is born from his human parents. But a person's spiritual life is born from the Spirit. Don't be surprised that I told you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wants to go. You hear the wind blow. But you don't know where the wind comes from or where the wind is going. It is the same with every person that is born from the Spirit." Nicodemus asked, "How can all this be possible?" Jesus said, "You are an important teacher of Israel (the Jews). But you still don't understand these things? I tell you the truth. We talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you people don't accept what we tell you. I have told you about things here on earth. But you do not believe me. So surely you will not believe me if I tell you about the things of heaven! The only one that has ever gone up to heaven is the One that came down from heaven—the Son of Man. "Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. It is the same with the Son of Man. The Son of Man must be lifted up too. Then every person that believes in the Son of Man can have life forever."

John 3:-15

The temple police went back to the leading priests and the Pharisees. The priests and the Pharisees asked, "Why did you not bring Jesus?" The temple police answered, "The things he says are greater than the words of any person we've ever heard!" The Pharisees answered, "So Jesus has fooled you too! Have any of the leaders believed in Jesus? No! Have any of us Pharisees believed in him? No! But those people {out there} know nothing about the law. They are under God's curse!" But Nicodemus was there in that group. Nicodemus was the one that had gone to see Jesus before. Nicodemus said, "Our law will not let us judge a person without hearing him. We cannot judge him until we know what he has done." The Jewish leaders answered, "Are you from Galilee too? Study the Scriptures. You will learn that no prophet comes from Galilee." [The oldest and best Greek copies of John do not have verses 7:53-8:11]

John 7:45-52

So Jesus said to them, "You will lift up (kill) the Son of Man. Then you will know that I AM. You will know that these things I do are not by my own authority (power). You will know that I say only the things that the Father has taught me.

John 8:28

Comments

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.