Monday, September 26, 2016

Luke 23:50-56

Luke 23:50-56
And behold!  A man – by name Joseph, while existing as a member of the Sanhedrin, a good and righteous man, one who was not having assented to the counsel and their works – from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, was looking for the kingdom of God.  This one, coming to Pilate, asked for the body of Jesus. And after taking Him, he enveloped Him in a linen cloth and he put him in a tomb cut in stone where nobody was yet lying.  And it was the day of preparation and the Sabbath was commencing.  And after the women – who were having come with him out of Galilee – followed they saw with their eyes the tomb and as his body was being put.  And after turning back they prepared spices and ointment, but as it was the Sabbath they kept still according to the commandment.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Joseph of Arimathea comes to take down the body of Christ.  Luke doesn’t mention it, but John also tells us in His Gospel that Nicodemus came with Joseph.  Remember to put this into context.  Here is a Jewish leader who is voluntarily coming in contact with a dead body.  Even more significantly, this is a dead body that is a convicted criminal from the perspective of the other religious leaders in the Sanhedrin.  Talk about committing political suicide!  However, we know that Joseph did not assent to the counsel to kill Jesus.  Joseph stands up and does the right thing when nobody else would.  Jesus’ own disciples fled – although not permanently.  Pilate tried to do the right thing, but the crowd wouldn’t allow it.  Now that Jesus is dead, and God’s plan is accomplished, a man rises up and does the right thing, willing to sacrifice everything to return the love of the Son.  For this reason, Joseph (and Nicodemus, too!) is one of my favorite people in the Bible.

What does the obedience of Joseph show you?  Can you imitate this obedience in your life?

Second Thought:

I think that it truly goes deeper than obedience, though.  I think there is love in this act.  Joseph could have had the bodies taken down.  But that is not what happens.  Joseph takes the bodies down himself.  Joseph wraps the body in linen.  Joseph places the body with care into a tomb that had never been used.  This isn’t a man going through motions.  This is a man caring for someone who had a horrible thing happen to him, a thing that Joseph disagreed with entirely.  Joseph couldn’t save His life just like Pilate couldn’t save it.  But Joseph can show love to the Son of God.  I am amazed at the care that Joseph shows in this passage.

What is the difference between obedience and obedience done in love?  Why is that an important distinction to comprehend?

Third Thought:

The women follow Joseph (and Nicodemus).  They knew their duty.  They loved Jesus.  He needed a proper burial.  It would be their job to rub Him in oils and spices to keep the body from becoming diseased and smelling too terrible.  In wasn’t the most pleasant act; but it is an act of loyalty and obedience.  Here again we see people willing to do the difficult task just because it is what God desires of them.

Are you surprised that Luke is once again mindful of the work of the women?  What does the witness of their obedience say to you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 24:1-3
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