An Alliance of Men: Joseph, Nicodemus, and the Kingdom
Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. — John 19:39-42
Regarding the spices, here is what you need to know. Myrrh was a fragrant resin. Jews turned it into powdered form and mixed it with aloes. The mixture provided a pleasant fragrance in various circumstances (Psalms 45:8; Proverbs 7:17; Song of Solomon 4:14). Used in connection with burial, its purpose was to burn or spread to stifle the smell of decay.
But something more substantial here is the partnership of two believing men.
Nicodemus, a Pharisee, was probably a member of the Sanhedrin and the one who previously visited Jesus at night (John 3:1-15; 7:50-52). So, in conjunction with the previous text, we have two believing men, Joseph and Nicodemus, both wealthy and religious, who believed in Jesus and formed a courageous alliance using their means to prepare Jesus for a proper burial.
It is beautiful when believing men work together this way. They work to find ways to work together, using their influence and gifts to benefit others and the kingdom. Yet so few work to invest the time doing this. Most men live in autonomy, separated from a spiritual community, and never get to know another brother long enough to discover the supernatural working through two or more men focused on the mission of God rather than their mission.
And don't confuse what's happening here with a business partnership. This is not a business partnership. It's a mission partnership. It's the stewardship of influence, finances, and gifts together for the mission of God. There isn't a business payout. It's a gift that assumes no corresponding action. And as the next two days unfold, we will see their contribution will be short-lived. The grave will be vacated, and the spices unneeded for the rotting body of Jesus will be raised and break free from the tomb.
Today, find some way to partner with another spiritual brother. And don't do it for your benefit. Do it for the kingdom's benefit. Use the very best of your influence, wealth, and spiritual gifts to partner with another believing man. If you do, you might discover what these two men discovered here — an alliance of spiritual proportions that were preliminary actions for a risen man and not just preparations for a dead man.
In this passage, we see Joseph and Nicodemus, two wealthy and influential men, coming together to prepare Jesus for a proper burial. What do you think motivated them to take this courageous step, and what can we learn from their partnership in the context of our own lives and relationships with fellow believers?
The partnership between Joseph and Nicodemus wasn't a business partnership but a mission partnership, where they used their resources and gifts for the mission of God. How can we apply this concept of mission partnership in our own lives? Are there specific areas where you can partner with another spiritual brother for the benefit of the kingdom without expecting anything in return?
DO THIS: Partner with a brother for God's mission.
PRAY THIS: Lord, help me to emulate the selfless partnership of Joseph and Nicodemus, using my influence, resources, and spiritual gifts for the mission of your kingdom without seeking personal gain. May I discover the power of alliances driven by faith and a shared commitment to your mission.
PLAY THIS: All Hail King Jesus.
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