Friday 29 March 2013

Bible Book:

John 19:38-42 Friday 29 March 2013


Jesus was dead and the question now was how to dispose of hisbody. A new character is introduced into the story, Joseph ofArimathea. He is a character mentioned in all the Gospels and weare able to build up quite a clear picture of him. He was a richand powerful man who was a member of the council of elders whocondemned Jesus and turned him over to Pilate for execution. Inspite of his position and power he was very cautious in hisapproach to Pilate. He was also a believer in Jesus: "a disciple"according to Matthew (Matthew 27:57), a good man "waiting expectantlyfor the kingdom of God" in Luke (Luke23:51) and Mark (Mark15:43), and a "secret" disciple in John.

The point is well made by all four of the Gospel writers thatJoseph was there when all the other disciples had disappeared. Heperhaps gave Jesus the grave which he bought for himself and helovingly prepared Jesus' body for burial. However, it is intriguingto know what lay at the heart of all this ambivalence around thenature of Joseph's commitment as a follower of Jesus.

If he was a prominent member of the council why did he not speakout when Jesus was condemned? Luke's Gospel describes the councilin some detail (Luke 22:66-71), but no dissenting voice ismentioned.

What kind of discipleship is this? It sounds like being adisciple is something Joseph can pick up or put down depending onwhere he is. It would be dangerous and embarrassing to admit tobeing a follower of Jesus in the council. Yet, under cover ofdarkness, on a busy Sabbath eve he was able to give Jesus adignified burial.

The "secret" discipleship shows reverence for Jesus' body, buton reflection, the "secret" discipleship also condemned Jesus todeath.

To Ponder

  • Who are we protecting when we say faith is a privatematter?
  • What is it like to be a Christian in the place where you meetyour friends / work /study?
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