Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea was a secret follower of Jesus because he feared the Jewish leaders. He is probably best known for asking Pilate for Jesus’ body and then placing it in his own tomb.
Joseph of Arimathea appears in each of the four Gospels (Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-54 and John 19:38-42) specifically around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. These short verses in the Gospels reveal a surprising amount of information relating to Joseph of Arimathea and his characteristics which we will explore below.
Joseph of Arimathea
Luke states that Joseph of Arimathea was a “good and just man” who didn’t consent to the Sanhedrin’s “decision or deed” to crucify Jesus. (See Luke 23:50, 51.) He was a prominent member of the Jewish council (Mark 15:43), and yet was “waiting for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:51). Joseph of Arimathea secretly followed Christ, and yet found the courage to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. (See Mark 15:43.)
1. He stood for what was right
In Luke 23:51, Joseph of Arimathea is said to have not “consented to their decision and deed” in regards to the Jewish council’s crucifixion of Jesus. Imagine how hard it would have been to hear your fellow council members verbally attack Jesus and then finally see the culmination of their hatred towards Jesus at the cross.
2. He was from Arimathea
Matthew 27:57, explains that Joseph was from Arimathea. The Greek word for Arimathea (Ἁριμαθαία), transliterated “harimathaia” means “heights”. The word Arimathea is of Hebrew origin and is transliterated “ramah” meaning “hill”. There appears to be four places in Palestine with the name Ramah, one of which is the birthplace of Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1, 19), the priest who served during the time of Saul and a portion of David’s reign.
The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states that Joseph of Aramathea was likely from Mt Ephraim, the same place where Samuel was born.
3. He was a secret follower of Jesus
The Bible says in John 19:38, that Joseph of Arimathea secretly followed Christ because he feared the Jews. Like Nicodemus, it wasn’t until after Jesus’ death that he openly showed his allegiance to Jesus. At Jesus’ death, Joseph of Arimathea no longer cared what those around him thought and he took Jesus down from the cross.
4. He was a good and just man
Luke 23:50, 51, says that Joseph of Arimathea was “a good and just man” and was waiting for the kingdom of God. He probably even secretly hoped that Jesus was the Messiah and would establish His kingdom during Joseph's lifetime.
5. He was a prominent Jewish leader
As a prominent member of the Jewish council (Mark 15:43), Joseph of Arimathea would no doubt have been a well-known public figure and had the respect of many of his peers. His position and prominence didn’t restrict him from eventually showing his full support for Jesus after His death.
6. He was wealthy
Matthew 27:57, also points out that Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man. This is evident in the way the Bible describes Joseph:
- He was a prominent member of the Jewish council (Mark 15:43)
- He had an unused tomb cut out of rock (John 19:41)
- The tomb was located in a garden (John 19:41)
7. He cared for Jesus
Joseph of Arimathea’s riches however didn’t restrict his character, personality or devotion as can be seen in how he and Nicodemus treated Jesus after His death. Not only did Joseph of Arimathea boldly ask for Jesus’ body, but he also took Jesus down from the cross and lovingly and carefully wrapped His body in linen.
8. He was courageous
“Joseph of Arimathea...who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43). This passage only mentions Joseph, and no one else, approaching Pilate and asking for Jesus’ body. Imagine the courage and faith it would have taken to do this by yourself.
9. He was a planner
Joseph of Arimathea had a tomb prepared for his own burial. He planned ahead and was ready for his death. However, Matthew 27:60, says that Joseph of Arimathea laid Jesus’ body, “...in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” He was preparing a burial place for his own death, but when he saw his Master’s need, Joseph of Arimathea quickly and willingly laid Jesus in his own tomb “where no one had ever lain before” (Luke 23:53).
July 31, 2022
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July 31, 2022
O Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church, and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succor, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Lesson: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23
2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.
18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me; 19 and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest. This also is vanity.
1 Hear this, all you peoples;
hearken, all you who dwell in the world, *
you of high degree and low, rich and poor together.
2 My mouth shall speak of wisdom, *
and my heart shall meditate on understanding.
3 I will incline my ear to a proverb *
and set forth my riddle upon the harp.
4 Why should I be afraid in evil days, *
when the wickedness of those at my heels surrounds me,
5 The wickedness of those who put their trust in their goods, *
and boast of their great riches?
6 We can never ransom ourselves, *
or deliver to God the price of our life;
7 For the ransom of our life is so great, *
that we should never have enough to pay it,
8 In order to live for ever and ever, *
and never see the grave.
9 For we see that the wise die also;
like the dull and stupid they perish *
and leave their wealth to those who come after them.
10 Their graves shall be their homes for ever,
their dwelling places from generation to generation, *
though they call the lands after their own names.
11 Even though honored, they cannot live for ever; *
they are like the beasts that perish.
Lesson: Colossians 3:1-11
3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you once walked, when you lived in them. 8 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices 10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scyth′ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
Gospel Luke 12:13-21
13 One of the multitude said to him, “Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”