Lives around The Cross: Part 1
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Luke 23:50-56 [NKJV]
50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. 55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
LET’S MEET A MAN OF ARIMATHEA
Jesus during his life on earth was a great influence to many people and one of the people He influenced mightily, though unknown to many, was a man named Joseph. This is not Joseph the husband of Mary who doubled as the earthly father of Jesus. Bible was clear about the identity of this new Joseph. Who was he? The above scripture says “Now behold…” What does that mean to you? To me, it means a man who had not been in the scene before now, a man who had been in the hide out, a man who had been there all the while but was not yet manifested. Joseph was a man kept for a time of relevance. Until now, he was not known. He was a man who was following and waiting for his time of manifestation. He was learning behind the scene. But one day, his time came. Bible says “Now behold…’’. Now Joseph is good for use. He has been fully made and prepared for this time. So let us join the Bible to behold the man of the hour. Everyone was shocked at the advent of this man. Who was he? Did he ever know Jesus? Why was he not known before now?
- Kingdom of God
He was a council member. Joseph was not a priest. He wasn’t a business man. He was a politician, a member of the Jewish judicial council or parliament of his day. Somehow he knew Jesus and became his follower. He enrolled into Jesus’ school of discipleship and was learning at his feet unknown to any public eye. The three inner caucus of Jesus could have known about this man. But the man preferred to be in the private circle. He was content with being behind. He would learn from Jesus and go to the council to establish the counsel of God. He was a representative of God in the council unknown to any man. He was the man God was using to promote his own interest in the council.
This new Joseph was a good man. He was a man like Barnabas, whom the Bible recorded to be a good man (Acts 11:22-24).
Good and Just
He was a good and just man. This seems to be the character of most Josephs. Remember what the Bible says about Joseph the husband of Mary also (Matt.1:19). This new Joseph was a good man. He was a man like Barnabas, whom the Bible recorded to be a good man (Acts 11:22-24). When do you say a man is good? When he is full of doing good. Read Acts 10:38 and see how this man had so much learnt from Jesus. Jesus had robbed so much on him. He was good just like his master was good (1John 2:6).
Bible says God is both good and just (Rom. 11:22), and that was exactly what Joseph was – good and just! What does it mean to be just? Who is a just man? A just man is a righteous man; a man that is factually fair and morally upright, right, correct, proper, firm, unbending, uncompromising, blameless, doing what is appropriate; living according to the rule. He doesn’t take what does not belong to him, does not covet what belong to others or suppress the rights and priviledges of others. Like his master, he rewards and gives to every man as his work shall be. He is not a respecter of persons. He speaks the truth without fears or favour and hold firm the tenets of the truth and rebuke when is necessary in the spirit and manner of love.
He had not consented to their decision and deed. What decision and deed? The council at a point became vocally anti-Christ and all they did was against Jesus Christ. For Joseph, he was fearless in declaring his stand for Jesus and about Jesus. He would not support their motions against the Son of God. He steered clear of their conspiracy against Christ. Even when they bribed the soldiers to tell the people that Jesus was stolen by his disciples, he didn’t consent. He was a man standing out in the majority. He was a minority with a majority’s voice and stand.
He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews. Where a man is from is so important. No man seems to reckon with a man without a clear descent and identity in Israel. Arimathea was called Ramathaim in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 1:1. He appeared to have come from the same city with Elkanah, the husband of Hannah and the father of Samuel, the prophet. They perhaps were relations. I am sincerely tempted to think that this man was only priviledged to have a good legacy and had inherited the faith of his fathers. But then, the Bible enlightened us. Hear the next line of the scripture.
… who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. Can you see what I see? Bible says Joseph himself was waiting. He had a personal conviction and faith. He had personally made a resolve for the Lord. It was a decision that was beyond family heritage or racial legacy. Yes, of course, he was from a city of the Jews, Ramah for that matter, but his faith was informed by a personal encounter with Jesus. His faith was his own personal decision to know the lord on his own and follow him until the kingdom comes. No, he would not miss the kingdom for which Christ prayed (Matt. 6:10). He knew all that as he sat at Jesus’ feet and resolved to be a part of it, and that was what they experienced on the day of Pentecost, only ten days after the ascension of Christ Jesus.
This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. This man that we have been examining went to Pilate. God has given him great influence and it was time to use that influence like never before to fulfill the purpose of God. God will not just use any man, not even for his dead body. He is so particular about who the man is. Some people think it is sufficient to just be good and generous no matter who they are or what they do. They think they can do God favour by giving him out of their wealth or donating generously to build a chapel or to the cause of the less-priviledge so as to appease their own evil conscience. The man God uses must be more than that. He must have known Christ and be ready to follow and learn from Christ. Joseph had a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ and was one of his students. He was an insider and a keen follower of Jesus’ life and ministry. This man was the man God qualified and approved to go to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus.
Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. Now behold the man of the hour doing the work of the hour. I know one thing that can qualify a man for the work of the hour. He must have been prepared for the work of the hour. Of course, we know that no man takes the honour unto himself. But we also know that God is not partial and he does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right [Acts 10:34-35, NIV]. He took the body of the Lamb of God down, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had lain before. Jesus climbed the colt upon which no man had ridden before. Now his body was in a tomb no one had used before. Bible was clear about the fact that it was not Jesus that was buried, but his body. Look at the use of the ‘it’ pronoun…took ‘it’ down…wrapped ‘it’…laid ‘it’ in a tomb. So where was the Lord himself? This is just part one in the series…the story continues. Please bow down your head and talk to God presenting your life to God and asking him to enroll you sufficiently for the preparation required for men that will be usable for the work of the hour. Stay blessed.
The Post at A Glance!
Summary He was learning behind the scene. But one day, his time came. Bible says “Now behold…’’. Now Joseph is good for use. He has been fully made and prepared for this time. So let us join the Bible to behold the man of the hour. Everyone was shocked at the advent of this man. Who was he? Did he ever know Jesus? Why was he not known before now?
Bible Character and Discipleship