For the very first time, we learn that the Sanhedrin was not unanimous in its treatment of Jesus. Here we meet Joseph of Arimathea, a righteous man and a member of the council. Mark’s account tells us all of the council members condemned Jesus to death, which probably means Joseph didn’t attend the kangaroo trial and only found out about it later.
Joseph goes to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus so that he can bury Him. He would have had the backing of other Pharisees to tak the bodies off the crosses because while a man’s body on a tree show’s divine judgement upon him, leaving him there overnight would bring a curse on the whole land. Beyond this, Joseph was a secret follower of Jesus (“he was looking or the kingdom of God” v. 51), and so he wanted to show honor to Him.
Often in those days, tombs that were carved from rock would hold many bodies. It was just more economical that way, considering the labor involved in cutting through stone. Joseph either already owned, or was able to find, a tomb that no one had yet been laid in to be the resting place for Jesus’s body.
There were only a few hours left until the Sabbath began, so there was not enough time to do all of the burial preparations that they would have liked to do. Some of the women who had travelled with Jesus from Galilee saw where Joseph had laid Jesus to rest and decided to finish the burial preparations Sunday morning, once the Sabbath was over.
You can soften even the hardest hearts, and give sight to those who are blinded by their pride.