Who was Joseph of Arimathea?
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.
Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now 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. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)
In addition, Matthew records he was rich, Mark records he was a respected member of the Jewish ruling council, and Luke adds he was good and righteous.
What was Joseph afraid that the other Jewish leaders would do if he publicly followed Jesus?
How do we know that Joseph overcame his fear?
Why did Joseph decide he had to act?
Jesus died at 3pm, and sundown was before 7pm, so there was a very short time to get Jesus’ body off the cross and into a tomb. Otherwise, because of laws about the Sabbath, the body of Jesus would have had to hang in disgrace until sundown on Saturday.
Joseph had a tomb that was very near the place Jesus was crucified. Joseph knew that he was the only one with all of the following: faith in Jesus, political connections that would allow him to get permission from Pilate, and access to a nearby tomb. Realizing he was in a unique position to act helped him find courage.
When has thinking, “Someone else will do it,” been an excuse that kept you from obeying God?
When have you been motivated to serve by the realization, “If I don’t do this, it won’t get done?”
Recently, there has been a rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Many victims are elderly, most are female, and this happens more to people who are poor and can’t speak English well.
What can we do on behalf of those already victimized, and what can we do to reduce future hate crimes?
Pray: Dear Jesus, you tell us in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do for the most vulnerable and needy around us, you receive as if we did it for you. Help us to show our gratitude for all that you have done for us by acting on behalf of those who need our help. In your name we pray.