Joseph of Arimathea-Mark 15:42-46

Mark 15:42-46 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”
Marco 15:42-46 “Essendo già sera (poiché era la Preparazione , cioè la vigilia del sabato), 43 venne Giuseppe d’Arimatea, illustre membro del Consiglio, il quale aspettava anch’egli il regno di Dio; e, fattosi coraggio, si presentò a Pilato e chiese il corpo di Gesù. 44 Pilato si meravigliò che fosse già morto; e, chiamato il centurione, gli domandò se fosse morto da molto tempo; 45 avutane conferma dal centurione, diede il corpo a Giuseppe. 46 Questi, comprato un lenzuolo e tratto Gesù giù dalla croce, lo avvolse nel lenzuolo e lo pose in una tomba scavata nella roccia; poi rotolò una pietra contro l’apertura del sepolcro.”
     There is no question that Jesus died as confirmed by many and significantly by the centurion (v. 45). This is a very important fact in Christianity as much as the resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” But the main character in this portion of Scripture is Joseph of Arimathea. He was a wealthy member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and didn’t agree with the decision to crucify Jesus (Luke 23:50-51). Like Nicodemus, he had been a secret disciple. But now he could not contain his anguish over the killing of Jesus, so he went “boldly” to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body. This responsibility normally went to family members. He, however, could no longer be a secret disciple. He risked his career and the disdain by other Jews. Pilate would now know that he was a follower and his request could probably be refused. He would also be touching a dead body that would mark him as ceremonially unclean. The Bible tells us that he took down the body of Jesus from the cross (Luke 23:53) and Nicodemus helped him prepare the body with expensive spices and linens and placed Jesus in the tomb prepared for Joseph (John 19:39-42). Isaiah 53:9 says that the rich would be with him in death and all four Gospels point to Joseph as the fulfillment of this prophecy.
     These secret disciples were now the brave ones. Where was everyone else? It is an interesting observation that the same event that crushed the faith and hope of the known and open disciples to abandon Jesus caused the secret disciples to awaken with boldness and courage to declare their faith in Him.  
Pray with me: Lord, secret discipleship will never really influence anyone to follow you. Knowing the risk, help me to move into a bolder and more courageous life in following You and proclaiming Your name.

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