John 19:38 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 19:38, NIV: Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away.

John 19:38, ESV: After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.

John 19:38, KJV: And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

John 19:38, NASB: Now after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, requested of Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.

John 19:38, NLT: Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus' body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away.

John 19:38, CSB: After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus--but secretly because of his fear of the Jews--asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus's body. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and took his body away.

What does John 19:38 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

As in any large group, there was diversity among Jerusalem's religious leaders. Not every member rejected Christ's claims. Nicodemus, who came to speak to Jesus in private (John 3:1–2), was a Pharisee and member of the ruling council. He is an example of a traditional leader who maintained a sincere interest in truth (John 7:51). Most likely, such men were deliberately excluded from the hasty, secret midnight meeting which condemned Jesus to death (Matthew 26:57–59; Luke 23:50–51).

Joseph of Arimathea is one of these spiritually open religious leaders. His sincerity does not translate to courage. While Nicodemus was at least willing to challenge his peers (John 7:51), we have no public expressions from Joseph until after Jesus is dead. His fear is understandable, given the hardened views of most of the council (John 9:22) and their murderous approach to Jesus' ministry (John 11:48–53).

On the other hand, associating with Jesus after His death is still a risky choice (John 20:19). Joseph's nerve might have come about late (Mark 15:43), but his act demonstrates compassion and bravery. He will be joined by the other known religious leader who believes in Christ, Nicodemus (John 19:39), as they bury Jesus in Joseph's own tomb (Matthew 27:59). The abnormality of a poor man (Matthew 8:20) being buried in the extravagant crypt of a rich leader (John 19:41) is also a fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 53:9).