I find it interesting that God the Father starts Jesus’ life here on earth with a Joseph and ends it with another Joseph. (Interestingly enough, the name Joseph means may he add). Recently while doing family devotions in Mark 15, the Lord has had me really think about this man Joseph of Arimathaea. The gospels describe him this way:
According to Matthew, Joseph was a rich man and was Jesus' disciple.
According to Mark, Joseph was an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God
According to Luke, Joseph was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
According to John, Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews.
The boys and I didn’t just read about what the Bible said but tried to picture the reality of the words.
The love that motivated Joseph to ask for the body of the LORD.
Jesus had brothers where were they?
Joseph had the tomb dug for himself…was he old? Weak in health? Or just being prepatory?
Did he consider that they might deny him Jesus and put him in prison? What was it like taking down Jesus’ body?
How does one get the big nails out?
Gravity would have made the body fall down upon the ground or his body? Jesus’ body wasn’t clean; it had been beaten and pierced and crusified.
Did He get Jesus’ blood on his hands and clothes?
Did he wash the body or just wrap it?
What emotions he must have felt as he touched and wrapped the back and body of his Lord? Did he weep? Did he pray? Did he vent to God in confusion?
How alone he must have felt and how thankful for Nicodemus who came with myrrh and aloes (100lbs of them!)
How he felt to lay Jesus in a tomb prepared for him?
Did he think “It should have been me?”
As he rolled the stone in place, what emotions must have overwhelmed him, like any mourner feels when the casket is lowered into the grave?
Did he run away to a secret place and just bawl or did he gather with the other disciples?
Did he have family and what did he say or do when he eventually went home?
I worked in the nursing home for over 6 years; I remember the first resident that died. I remember helping to prepare the body before the family came in to say goodbye, before the funeral home came for the body. I remember the feeling of washing a body that is minus a soul. I remember the privledge it was to do this one last act of honor toward the life of a person deeply cared for.
Joseph of Arimathaea is one of the people I have read about for years. He has been a part of the Easter story in my little ears as a young child. Yet it wasn’t until this week that I really, really thought about being in his sandals and wondered about him and how he felt. Joseph was a real man and we only see the facts in a few short gospel verses.
I pray I can be like him, bold in the face of the enemies of my Lord, steadfast, faithful and loving, letting my love for my Lord compel me to crave HIM above fear of persecution from the government or from peers. Desiring to honor my Lord no matter what the cost financially, physically, emotionally……
……Waiting for the kingdom of God