We are given very little insight as to the lives and characters of these two men, but there are some facts we know about them which are worthy of our attention. Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man, a member of the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews. Both of them found a deep interest in Jesus of Nazareth.
In the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3, Nicodemus did not understand the idea of the new birth. Many might have been discouraged and offended at the words of Jesus, but not Nicodemus. Later, as recorded in John 7:50-51, we see him defending Jesus before the other Phari- sees and religious leaders.
We hear nothing else about Nicodemus and Joseph until the cross. Luke records that Joseph disagreed with the decision to crucify an innocent man, especially since he was personally convinced that He was the Son of God (Luke 23:50-51). We do not know how strongly he fought the decision of the other council members, but it would seem that he did make known his displeasure with their deceitful workings.
John records that Joseph and Nicodemus prepared the body of Jesus for burial (John 19:38-39). They had been ashamed to admit their faith before, but now, they gladly confess their faith in Christ Jesus. It did not matter if it meant losing their jobs or their lives. We need people who will do as these men did. Secret disciples are not much use to Jesus, but if we confess Him before men, then we are truly His children!