Fear and contrition are two feelings that come to mind when reading this passage.
Both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are fearful of reprisal from the Jewish community for their involvement with Jesus. Yet thy appear to have a change of heart and risked resentment, rejection, (and possibly their lives) by attending to Jesus’s body – a seemingly open declaration of their love towards Him.
It would appear that Joseph and Nicodemus realized that their status, acceptance and all they stood to lose was not worth their silence. When all His followers deserted Him, Joseph and Nicodemus honored Him as much (or even more) by carrying out the proper Jewish burial custom rather than have Him thrown in with bodies of other wrongdoers. (As an aside, it is my belief that they didn’t come to this realization at the eleventh hour, as that large quantity of spices would not only be expensive, but difficult to accrue all at once).
Perhaps this passage speaks to the Lord’s “hidden servants” – many who work in the shadows, perhaps unbeknownst to the world but not unnoticed by God. It also reminds us of our teachings, that by acknowledging our failures, we open ourselves up to the opportunity to bask in His mercy.