I see this section being about the secret disciples who come out of the woodwork at Jesus’ death.
I had not remembered that Joseph went to ask Pilate for J’s body. This would have been odd as he was a member of the group who wanted Jesus dead and as he wasn’t a member of Jesus’ family. And to reveal himself, even now, as a disciple of Jesus was probably against his interest. Why did he do it? Not because he knows Jesus will be resurrected and wants to be a part of that … he must think, at this time, that Jesus is as dead as a door nail. Perhaps it is remorse for not having declared himself a disciple earlier?
Also I didn’t remember that Nicodemus had bought tons of spices, the amount I’ve read that is more normal for annointing dead royalty than a common man, and that the tomb was new and had no other inhabitants – the tomb of a wealthy man.
These two men of stature, who had cared enough about their reputations earlier to hide their disciple-nes, now treat like a king the man that had died like a criminal.
If I had been one of the gospel writers, I think I would have said of these two secret disciples that they were a day late and a dollar short. But John describes Joseph as – a good and upright man
This situation reminds me of the parable of the landowner who hires laborers at different times during the day to work in the vineyards. Though some do a whole day’s work and others only a few hours worth, all are paid the same wage. Joseph and Nicodemus are like the workers hired at the end of the day. Maybe if God’s love for us is indeed unconditional, the expression “too little, too late” has no meaning for him 🙂