It is interesting that John tarried at the Cross to see these things happen, for when the soldiers came, it was after 3 p.m., the time Jesus died. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate beseeching Jesus’ body. Joseph returned with Nicodemus and removed the body from the Cross. Thus John remained for some time after Jesus’ death. And now we can see why John felt it essential to write about Nicodemus in his Gospel (the other Gospels mention Joseph but not Nicodemus). Only John recorded the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. Here is another example showing that all four Gospels are needed for a rounded-out picture.
“Being a disciple of Jesus,” Joseph of Arimathea besought Pilate for the body. In other words, Joseph was fully convinced of Jesus’ Messiahship before he went to Pilate, but he had not disclosed his conviction previously. Now that Jesus was dead, Joseph was strengthened in character to beseech Pilate for the body, even though doing so would make him a public spectacle—and Nicodemus too. Initially Joseph and Nicodemus, who went to Jesus secretly by night, were fearful. Both were probably on the Sanhedrin, and both were men of means.