It's Never Too Late To Take A Stand
Posted: Friday, May 31
2 SAMUEL 17:1-29
Verse of the day:
38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. 39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds[g] of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. 40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. 41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. 42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover[h] and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in all 4 gospels, reinforcing that his story is essential. Matthew describes him as a rich man and a disciple of Jesus. Mark tells us that Joseph was a respected member of the council, while Luke tells us that he did not consent to the decision and action of the council that condemned Jesus. Here in John 19, Joseph is described as a secret disciple of Jesus and it’s easy to understand why. He had influence and wealth and all that could be at stake if he publically and boldly took a stand for Christ. So while Jesus was alive and while his life hung in the balance, Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple. But all that changed after Jesus’ death.
After the crucifixion Joseph asks Pilate for Jesus’ body to give him a proper burial, which would powerfully, publically and permanently identify him as a disciple of Christ. In most cases the body of a crucified person would have been left in place to decompose or the body would have been thrown in a shallow grave amongst criminals. Joseph couldn’t bear the thought of this so he lovingly and reverently opens up his unused family tomb to place his Lord. But Joseph had no idea that his tomb would only be needed for 3 days! This act of devotion by Joseph, to provide a place to reverently remember the unjust and tragic death of Christ has now become the ultimate symbol of life and hope!
What sets Christianity apart from all other religions is an empty tomb, and that tomb was provided by a once secret disciple of Jesus. You and I are also invited to follow Christ. It’s personal, but it’s not private. Joseph of Arimathea shows us that it’s never too late to take a stand for Christ.