Then he took the body down from the cross – Luke 23:53
For some reason, I’ve never given much thought to the man who gave Jesus his own tomb. Matthew 27, verse 57 says he was “a rich man, who had become a disciple of Jesus.” Mark 15, verse 43 calls him “a prominent member of the Council.” The Council refers the Sanhedrin. They were the group who called for the Crucifixion of Christ. Verse 51 of Luke 52 indicates that Joseph “had not consented to their decision and action.”
Here is a man who disagreed with a lot of what was going on around him politically. He hated being under Roman rule and oppression. He hated what his own group had decided to do and actually had done to Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea probably felt guilty that he hadn’t said more or done more for his Lord. However, when Jesus drew His last breath, Joseph got permission from Pilate to bury the body. I’m just picturing him being the first person to touch the bloody, lifeless body of his Lord and Savior. I’m kind of blown away by it.
It had to have cost him friends. It might have cost him his seat on the Council of the Sanhedrin. As he handles the body of Jesus, people probably looked at him differently because he obviously cared for and loved this man named Jesus. I imagine that his heart probably raced and he could feel the stares as he did all that it took to bury Jesus as properly as possible before nightfall when the Sabbath began.
It is interesting how a follower of Jesus goes from being a private follower to being a public follower. I didn’t really let most people know for quite sometime. I liked having the best of both worlds. I was a Christian at church and around my Jesus friends. Then, I would be worldly around my friends who didn’t really want anything to do with Him. Eventually, you do have to make a choice. Joseph couldn’t stand the thought of Jesus not being buried properly, so he went public.
For me, I realized one Sunday at church that my sins actually hurt Jesus. Though I had never really thought about it before, all of a sudden, more than anything, I didn’t want to hurt Him with my foolish sins anymore. Therefore, I pictured in my mind giving my sin to Him one last time. I saw in my mind that lifeless body that gave His last drop of blood so that I might be forgiven and saved. Like Joseph, I had to start living this thing out. I had to not care what everyone thought of me. My actions needed to match my words.
Lord, more than anything I want to honor you with my life. Help me so that what I say matches up with the way that I live. Help all who will read this today by drawing them closer to you. Fill us up with your Holy Spirit. Make us unashamed to carry you with us and let everyone see that we love you and that you’ve made such a difference in our lives.