All four Gospel writers include the compelling account of Joseph of Arimathea caring for the body of Jesus after His death on the cross. Compiling information from each Gospel account reveals the following about Joseph:
No doubt Joseph had spent time listening to Jesus speak and watching Him minister. The Bible gives us many accounts of Jesus being surrounded by an audience of believers and curious seekers. Often in the outer perimeter of those audiences, there would be nay-sayers from the Scribes and Pharisees, whose only purpose was to trap Jesus and bring charges against Him for violating the Judaic Law. Perhaps Joseph was a silent member of the nay-sayers, but as he listened intently to the truth from Jesus, over-time it changed his heart.
Shackled by fear of the Jews, by peer pressure, and by a desire to conform to the status quo, Joseph remained a believer from a safe distance. Nevertheless, the work of God’s transforming Word was real in his life. As Henry Blackaby observes, Joseph’s transformation into a “disciple in action” is a powerful picture of how God speaks to someone’s heart and moves them to make major adjustments in their life to join God in His work.*
Joseph boldly went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. The Judaic laws regarding defilement and uncleanliness were no longer his concerns as he struggled to remove the abused body of Jesus from the cross. Love motivated Joseph to prepare Jesus’ body for burial and then place it in his own self-hewn tomb. By responding to the invitation of God, Joseph’s actions fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 53:9 that Jesus would be buried with the rich.
The Word never changes. God, the Alpha and the Omega, is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God is at work today, and He invites you and me to join Him in His transforming work. May our hearts be fertile soil where His invitation takes root and moves us to be disciples in action through obedience to His leadership.
*The Seven Realities of Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby Ministries
Read Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, and John 19:38-42 to get a more complete picture of the character Joseph of Arimathea.
Lord, forgive me for the times when I have tried to be a secret disciple, admiring You from afar but slow to tell others about You. Like Joseph, transform me so that I am a disciple in action, boldly identifying with You and serving others in the name of Jesus.
Items Needed: large poster board & wide sharpies
Let’s have a family brainstorming session! Find a comfortable spot in your home where you can all sit together and set up the poster board. Decide on one person to write or take turns. Remind everyone that Joseph once followed Jesus in silence but that changed once He was crucified. Joseph became bold when he began to take care of Jesus’ body after it was hung on the cross. Talk as a family about what it means to be bold. When it comes to serving Jesus, in what ways can you and your children be bold like Joseph? In big, bold letters, write the ways down on your large poster board. When you are done, hang the poster board up where everyone is reminded of it daily!
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