The Man Called Joseph of Arimathea

In the four Gospels we find important characteristics given Joseph:

A rich man from Arimathea, a Jewish town; noble and honorable in rank and a respected member of the Sanhedrin, who was waiting for the kingdom of God, courageous, a good man and righteous, who had not agreed with or assented to the purpose and action of the others; he was a secret disciple of YAHSHUA. Joseph of Arimathea was not just a common man; although hidden in his high position of authority, he believed YAHSHUA and became one of His disciples. As a disciple of YAHSHUA, Joseph was faithful to Him, as when the time came for him to solidify his faith he risked his life and position as a member of the Sanhedrin where YAHSHUA was condemned (although he had not agreed with the decision of other members) by going to Pilate to request permission to bury the body of YAHSHUA. Without a doubt he was chosen by God for a time when His Son would be in need of burial to provide one for Him, as it was prophesized by Isaiah 53: 9: And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Joseph himself was not a young man; in the Pilate’s report, he defined Joseph as an old man who had come to him begging upon his knees the permission to bury YAHSHUA of Nazareth. Joseph was not going to let His Savior be left on the cross.  He, together with Nicodemus got YAHSHUA’S body from the cross before sundown and put him in his own brand new tomb according to Jewish law.  I am sure that Joseph never thought his tomb was being carved to host the Savior, the Creator of life for three days. No, YAHSHUA’S body was not going to be buried with the malefactors, or left on the cross exposed as food for the birds. We read in the psalms that God was not going to allow His Son’s body to suffer corruption. That could never have happened.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus gave YAHSHUA a proper burial; Nicodemus came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes about a hundred pounds, so they took YAHSHUA’S body and bound it in linen cloths with the spices as is the Jews’ customary way to prepare for burial. YAHSHUA was buried in a tomb in a garden. (John 29:38-41). While alive, YAHSHUA was rejected and despised and counted with criminals, although He had done nothing wrong and found innocent in the courts of Pilate and Herod. But in His death, YAHSHUA was treated with dignity and given an honorable burial. The charge against the prisoner was what would determine where his remains came to rest. If he was worthy of death he would be buried ignominiously in a common grave. The innocent crucified unjustly by foreign power (Romans) could be given honorable burial (Ibia. P-1210). Pilate found YAHSHUA innocent; several times he said so. When Joseph of Arimathea came to him asking to bury YAHSHUA, Pilate did not hesitate and gave Joseph his permission to bury Him.

Joseph’s faith outweighed his fear when he risked all to ask Pilate for the body of YAHSHUA. He ruined his reputation when he contaminated himself by entering the quarters of a pagan and contaminated himself under the Mosaic Law when he touched a corpse. But Joseph was not going to have it any other way. His love for YAHSHUA compelled him to obedience to God, Whom he served. He did not side with the majority in the decision to have YAHSHUA crucified, but remained true to his faith in YAHSHUA’S teaching and to Him. While the Jewish authorities together handed YAHSHUA to the Romans and dictated the form of death by which YAHSHUA should die, Joseph and Nicodemus sided together as a minority to provide Him an honorable burial.  This act of Joseph and Nicodemus might not be of great significance to us, for not knowing the history and customs behind it. However, that should not escape our understanding that to have our Savior buried with the criminals in a common grave was to treat Him as one of them. God’s provision of a new tomb in a garden for His Son showed the world the innocence and worthiness of His Son to have it done honorably.  He was treated worse than a criminal in people’s judgment against Him. But in His Father’s judgment YAHSHUA completed all He had to do in submission and obedience to Him. It was time to elevate Him, beginning with the manner in which He was buried- in a rich man’s tomb.

Joseph’s life was marked in history for his good deed to YAHSHUA, never to be forgotten, just as Mary’s who anointed Him before His burial with an expensive perfume. May our lives reflect love and dedication for our Lord in all we do; be it for the family of God or for the lost ones; may the beam of our love for Him reach far into the world and into the hearts of men.

Author: Jacinta da Cruz Rodgers

I have been committed to teaching the truth of the Word of God beginning with Trans World Radio on Bonaire, N.A and Swaziland, Africa (1969-1980), then through churches in the United States in both English and Portuguese and then through ministry in Israel (2005-2006). This ministry continues through local Bible studies and outreach to the world via the internet. I have written a book about my life from that of an orphan in Brazil to missionary in 5 countries. You can find out more on the "Book" page of our blog site.

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