Matthew 27:51-66

“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus” (Matthew 27:57)

According to Matthew 27:57 Joseph of Arimathea was a devout follower of Christ. He is also described as a man of considerable means. Mark 15:43 adds that he was “a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God”; His sentiment of not having “consented to their decision and action” is made known in Luke 23:50–56.

Furthermore, we are told in John 19:38 that in hearing of Jesus’ death, this secret disciple of Jesus “asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission.” Joseph immediately purchased a linen shroud and proceeded to Golgotha to take the body of Jesus down from the cross.

Then, according to John 19:39-40, Joseph and Nicodemus took the body and bound it in linen cloths with the spices that Nicodemus had bought. The disciples then conveyed the prepared corpse to a man-made cave hewn from rock in a garden of his house nearby. The Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 27:60) alone suggests this was Joseph’s own tomb (adapted from Wikipedia).

I like the guy. From these short accounts we see a man with some remarkable qualities. First, there was a willingness to share with others of his resources. Know this. Having money doesn’t make you generous. Having Jesus does.

Add to that his willingness to get involved. He could easily have stayed on the sidelines and paid for someone else to have done the dirty work. But his love for the Lord compelled him – as it will us.

Then there are the qualities of courage and fortitude – evidenced by the way in which he stood up to his Jewish cohorts. Undoubtedly, this was not a popular move given the council’s contempt for Christ. But conviction trumped convenience.

And to do it in such a manner and fashion as to have the continued respect of his colleagues – though the variance of opinion and ideology was considerable.

I don’t know about you, but already I am feeling a bit challenged. Maybe even a little convicted.

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I find it interesting that the “secret disciples” received the courage & boldness to go to Pilate for Jesus’ body. The apostle’s didn’t have boldness until after Pentecost. I think Pilate could have given them a “hard time”. Challenged and convicted? Oh yeah!