Joseph of Arimathaea was a wealthy and respected member of the leading council of the Jews. Like Nicodemus before him, he was afraid of the counsel, unwilling to publicly declare his discipleship. Most of us are not that different from Joseph. We know what we believe—but we haven’t quite come to the point where we are willing to declare it from the rooftops.
I take great comfort in the way this story ends, when Joseph throws off his chains of fear and approaches Pilate to beg the body of Christ. This is the moment of rebirth, when Joseph’s love for his friend and Savior becomes stronger than his fear of men. Each of us has the opportunity to throw off our own chains. In that moment, we leave fear behind and move forward in faith to the love of Christ.