Such a Time as This

50 And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; 52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. Luke 23:50-53

Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in all four gospels. He was a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, a rich man, good and righteous, waiting for the kingdom of God, a disciple of Jesus, and compatriot with Nicodemus.

They say he was a “secret” believer for “fear of the Jews.” Perhaps this is true, but one commentator, based on the translation of the Greek word, in his view translated “secreted,” makes a good case that because Joseph did not consent to the Council’s “plan and action,” he was in hiding because he was now a marked man. Because the chief priests were preoccupied with Jesus, they would deal with Joseph later.

He certainly had to screw up the courage to ask Pilate for the body, and from there he was outed, if you will. He and Nicodemus took on the arduous task of carrying the dead weight of Jesus’ lifeless body to Joseph’s own tomb before sundown, there applying one hundred pounds of spices (also carried), provided by Nicodemus (John 19:39). On top of this, being righteous Jews, the act of touching a dead body had to have rendered them “unclean.” But they did not care. It is also said that Joseph physically rolled the stone into place (Mark 15:46).

Sometimes our role in the kingdom of God is only in one scene, or for a season, and then we retreat again into the background. For Joseph’s heroic actions that day, for his “no” vote, backbreaking work, and for the “temporary” donation of his tomb, he will be richly rewarded in heaven. The key is to be willing, able, studied up, prayed up, and at the ready to do the Lord’s will.

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for nearly 45 years and counting.
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