Monday, April 6, 2015

Luke 23:50-54

"And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (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; this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 
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.  And it was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin."

Time was of the essence.  Someone had to act!  If no one intervened, the Lord Jesus' body would be flung onto the garbage heap in the valley of Hinnom.  Such a thought was simply too much for Joseph of Arimathea.

Described as a "good and righteous man...waiting for the kingdom of God," Joseph had the boldness to oppose the plan and action of the Sanhedrin, which carried the risk of disgrace and even death.  And he was willing to be identified with the "cursed" One who had changed his life.

He had come to faith we know not when.  As one of the religious leaders, surely he had been present when conversations with Jesus took place.  He watched and listened, observing the uniqueness of the young Rabbi from Nazareth.  Maybe he came to embrace Him as he sensed the authentic purity of His person, reflected in His powerful words and deeds.  Perhaps it was the way He died that sealed it.  Whatever the means, he was granted saving grace and faith by the Father. 

In the urgency of his spontaneous boldness, Joseph defiled himself (as far as the other leaders were concerned) in approaching Pilate to ask for the Savior's body.  The intensity of his love ignored such superstition, in order to care for his Lord.  He also risked arrest by identifying with the followers of Christ, but "perfect love casts out fear," and he pressed on. 

In his compassionate generosity of offering the use of his family vault, Joseph actually fulfilled biblical prophecy (Isaiah 53:9).  Even the Lord Jesus' burial was sovereignly supervised by the living God to validate His Son as Messiah. 

There is much encouragement in the bold initiative of Joseph's actions.  A thousand rationalizations could have kept him from openly identifying with the crucified Teacher, yet he swept them all aside and provided the venue for his Lord's resurrection.  May we be equally usable, and used by our risen Lord.