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. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.
It was a dangerous thing for a council member to admit to following Jesus. Joseph had already risked his reputation by opposing the decision to have Jesus put to death. By taking care of Jesus’ body, he put himself in real danger. Why would he do this?
The New Testament tells of many people who were transformed by their encounter with Jesus. Often, they want to do something in return: Zacchaeus offered to repay anything he had stolen; the former demon-possessed man wanted to travel with Jesus; the leper came back to personally thank Jesus. When someone does something good for you, it’s natural to thank them and possibly offer something in return. This is what Joseph of Arimathea does.
Sing: I cannot tell…
To the tune “O Danny Boy”
I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship,
Should set His love upon the sons of men,
Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wanderers,
To bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know, that He was born of Mary,
When Bethlehem’s manger was His only home,
And that He lived at Nazareth and laboured,
And so the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is come.
I cannot tell how silently He suffered,
As with His peace He graced this place of tears,
Or how His heart upon the cross was broken,
The crown of pain to three-and-thirty years.
But this I know, He heals the broken-hearted,
And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
And lifts the burden from the heavy-laden,
For yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is here.
I cannot tell how He will win the nations,
How He will claim His earthly heritage,
How satisfy the needs and aspirations
Of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall see His glory,
And He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
And some glad day His sun shall shine in splendour,
When He the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is known.
I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
When, at his bidding, every storm is stilled,
Or who can say how great the jubilation
When all the hearts of men with love are filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
And myriad, myriad human voices sing,
And earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer:
‘At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King!’
We are not normally persecuted for our faith in the United Kingdom. However, it can still be hard to speak up when those around are indifferent or think we are foolish.
Pray for Christians in other countries who suffer for their faith: social exclusion, expulsion from the family, loss of jobs, or even danger to life.
Ask God to help you find ways to share your faith with the people you meet each day.