Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. - John 19:38, NIV
Because Jesus had just been executed as a criminal and an enemy of Rome, Joseph’s request was exceedingly bold. As a prominent member of the religious community, he ran the risk of provoking not only Pilate but also the other Jewish leaders who then could have excommunicated him from the Sanhedrin and the temple.
Joseph’s action was especially astounding since previously he had been so timid and fearful of the opinions of others that he had kept his belief in Jesus as the Messiah a secret. Now, however, he came out of the closet and “with Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body.” Even more astonishing, “he was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night” (John 19:38-39, NIV).
The Father’s heart must have been deeply moved and heaven’s host must have applauded with joy to see these two fearful, prideful Jewish men throw caution to the wind. They had been silent when they should have spoken. They had denied their faith when they should have asserted it. But no more! Now they were standing up for Jesus!
From Just Give Me Jesus