And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Mark 15:42-47
How have you been spending your time during the Stay at Home? It’s almost like God is giving the world a huge “time out” to check our attitudes and what’s important. Even more surprising is the timing, right before Easter during the Lenten season. The forty days of Lent are for spiritual growth and renewal, fasting and repentance. Lent is a time to be aware of the sin that separates us from God and what it cost him to be reunited to us in right relationship.
Joseph of Arimathea got his relationship right with Jesus and was waiting for the Kingdom of God (Mark 15:43). He is mentioned only four times in the Bible, Matthew (27:57) as wealthy, Mark (15:43) respected in the Sanhedrin, Luke (23:50) as a good and righteous man, and in John (19:38) a secret disciple and follower. The day Jesus died on the cross – his waiting was over. He openly approached Pilate and boldly asked for Jesus’ dead body. He bought a linen shroud (Mark 15:46) and secured help (including Nicodemus, another Pharisee, John 19:39) to take him down from the cross. They prepared Jesus’ body for burial, and laid him in a tomb, between the 9th hour and the Sabbath at sundown. All this in 180 minutes. The other disciples scattered in fear, but Joseph, at great risk to his family and career, respectfully gave his Savior a proper burial. This was a critical part of Jesus’ story and Joseph was uniquely suited to help him in those three hours, and did everything he could.
God has prepared good works for all of us as his followers. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). These good works are a result of a right relationship with Jesus. Take inventory of your God given gifts, talents and influence. What is God calling you to for such a time as this? Are you willing to bear the cost? It was time for Joseph to be bold and courageous, and so it is for us. God has uniquely fitted you for the work he has for you. Like Joseph’s 180 minutes, it will be personal, and it will be important in God’s Kingdom. During the imposed solitude of Lent this year, spend time with Jesus, listening to how he wants to use you and your influence for his Kingdom, then obey.
By Donna Burns