38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
"New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
John describes Joseph as a disciple, but a secret one for fear of hoi Ioudaioi, “the Jews.” The Johannine church’s conflict with its neighboring Jewish community is again in evidence. The uniquely Johannine character of Nicodemus, who had earlier approached Jesus clandestinely, now reappears, more publicly displaying his connection with Jesus. He provides a large amount of spices and herbs that transform John’s burial scene into one fit for a king, a recurrent Johannine theme.
John situates the tomb in a garden. Thus, the Johannine passion narrative began with Jesus’ arrest in a garden and concludes with his burial in a garden. John’s Gospel mentions no women observers at the burial scene, though Mary Magdalene plays a prominent role at the garden tomb in the Gospel’s next chapter.