On Saturday he was a lying, bound up in Joseph’s tomb,
A massive stone at the entrance, securing his final doom.
His friends who loved him dearly were filled with fear and gloom;
On Saturday he was a lying, bound up in Joseph’s tomb.
491 I would be true, for there are those who trust me (Tune: Pilgrims)
I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
Jesus will help me,
He is my friend;
He’ll lead and I will follow
Till life’s very end.
I would be friend of all–the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up and laugh and love and lift.
Howard Arnold Walter (1883-1918) (verses)
Read Luke 23:50-56
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.
Difficult times often reveal a person’s true nature. For some, “charity begins at home.” By this they mean that they will look after themselves first, and if there is any spare time, money or energy, they may think about helping others. We saw this at the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, when within one day the supermarkets were emptied of pasta, bread and toilet roll by people in a blind panic.
On the other hand, people can suddenly become very generous when a community or nation is threatened with disaster. Volunteers preparing food parcels for people with no income, families checking on elderly neighbours and doing their shopping, professionals sharing their skills online free of charge, neighbours forming impromptu choirs in their gardens or on their balconies. Disasters bring out both the best and worst in people.
Thankfully for Jesus and his followers, there was “a good and upright man” in the Jewish ruling council. Luke tells us that Joseph did not agree with the decision to kill Jesus. In publicly dissenting in the Council then asking Pilate for Jesus’ body, Joseph was risking his reputation, and possibly his life.
Out of love and reverence for Jesus, Joseph collected the body from the cross and, possibly with the help of the women who alone had stood by their Lord, he laid Jesus in the tomb that had been prepared for himself and his family.
In just a few short sentences, Luke made sure that the deeds of this righteous man would be remembered forever.
We can often take for granted the good deeds of others towards us, forgetting to be grateful or to thank them.
Who have you known who was truly good and righteous? Who has done something particularly good or kind for you? Did you ever thank them?
Many people are currently working cheerfully under difficult conditions. Do you remember to thank them for their help?
Could you bake a cake, make soup, knit a scarf, or use some other skill to make something that shows your appreciation for the kindness and goodness of someone towards you?