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Easter Part 3: the burial...

When we think about the crucifixion, we often times ponder the pain, the thorns, the suffering, the two thieves, the many things come to mind. But rarely, does the name Joseph of Arimathea come up. Most don't even know this man's role, but in a few short verses we see that his role was unlike any other. He was a character in one of the most pivotal parts in the story of salvation and redemption at the cross...a man who would bury Jesus, so he could indeed resurrect.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all give us glimpses into this man. He was from a Judean town, a "good and righteous man", rich, a "prominent member of the Sanhedrin", one who was looking forward to the kingdom of God, and one who had become a disciple of Jesus (secretly).

And even though all of these things, in one moment of surrender, Joseph left all on the line - his reputation, his standing in society and his whole being, to go to Pilate "boldly" and ask for Jesus' body. The ridicule that this man must have faced from the crowds that were dispersing would have been intense. But I'd like to believe he didn't even hear their heckling, because he was on a care for the One that He grew to love. Are we willing to do the same?

This man took special care in wrapping Jesus' body in "clean, fine linen", covering him with oils (expensive oils that were only fit for a king's burial) and placing Jesus in his tomb that he had carved out into the rock (most likely for his own burial place). Oh to be able to hold His Savior! Little did he know, when he was carving it out, that it would be for the King of Kings! And as soon as he buried Jesus, he was never to be mentioned again. His purpose had been fulfilled.

Joseph - a man, who had to follow Jesus in what seemed to be a version of the underground church because of who he was, who rejected the Sanhedrin's plan and action to turn Jesus over to the Roman authorities and to crucify Him...and a man, when time needed him, when Jesus needed him, he emerged. He became what no one else wanted to be. The disciples had fled and there was no one left. He became the one who cared for the body of Jesus and placed it in a tomb, so that the miracle of the resurrection could take place. What a precious role to play in the future, coming kingdom...and what a beautiful illustration of sacrificing everything for even one man. And Jesus would do the same for him. In fact...Jesus did it all.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8


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