Monday 1 January, 2018
42 It was the day before the Sabbath. That day was called Preparation Day. As evening approached, 43 Joseph went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Joseph was from the town of Arimathea. He was a leading member of the Jewish Council. He was waiting for God’s kingdom. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. So he called for the Roman commander. He asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 The commander said it was true. So Pilate gave the body to Joseph. 46 Then Joseph bought some linen cloth. He took down the body and wrapped it in the linen. He put it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body had been placed.
Joseph was a complex man. He was a “good and righteous” man who was faithfully looking for the Kingdom of God. John tells us he was a disciple of Jesus.
He was also one of the leading members of the Sanhedrin and Matthew tells us he was wealthy. He had a lot to lose. He was a “secret disciple” because he was afraid of the consequences.
Luke tells us he did not agree with the decision or actions of the Sanhedrin in condemning Jesus. Yet, like Peter, he did not speak up for him.
But now he takes a big risk to go “boldly” to Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body; to see that the requirements of the law are followed; and that Jesus is treated with honour. He gives up his own tomb for Jesus.
He is not criticised for his lack of boldness at Jesus’ trial. (Stopping Jesus dying was definitely not part of God’s plan.) He is honoured for his boldness now. Because of what he did in protecting Jesus’ body, we can be certain that Jesus really died and was really raised to life. That has huge significance.
Like Joseph, God doesn’t ask me to be bold in what I do. He asks to boldly take my part in what he’s doing. That means I need to constantly look for what he’s doing (“looking for the Kingdom of God”, like Joseph).
Father, I want to take my part in what you’re doing today, even if it means taking a risk. I want to honour you. Open my eyes to see what it is, and give me courage to take my part.
Written by David Cornell