Archive for July 31st, 2017

This Joseph, mentioned in all four Gospels, came from a small village called Arimathea in the hill country of Judea. He was a respected member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious council in Jerusalem. He was presumably wealthy, since he owned his own unused tomb in a garden not far from the site of Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27:60). Joseph, a man waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went to Pontius Pilate after the death of Jesus and asked for Jesus’ body (Mark 15:43). Along with Nicodemus, Joseph removed the body and placed it in the tomb (John 19:38-39). Their public devotion contrasted greatly to the fearfulness of the disciples who had abandoned Jesus. (LCMS)

Reflection:  Joseph of Arimathea is a critical actor in the burial of Jesus. If a congregation were to do a Passion play, the role of Joseph would be a bit part, just one or two lines. Many an actor wants of course the lead. Yet, like any part in a play, big or small, each role is crucial. Most of us will ever and only have a bit part in the life we are called to lead, yet your part is crucial, even critical in the lives of someone else.  We will flub our lines and make missteps and miss our cue.  Yet, the Lord will teach us the role we are assigned and it takes practice, the practice of discipleship and Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus’ disciple.

Actors follow a script.  The Church has script as well:  Scripture. We need to learn our lines.   Joseph of Arimathea was looking for the Kingdom of God which means he heard the Word.  Jesus opens up the Scripture as every word is the Word of God.  Joseph followed the Script and Jesus followed the Script perfectly. Joseph loved the Lord and when you love someone you love what he says.  He also followed the stage directions,otherwise he would lost.  He did not ad lib lines that were not in keeping with the Scripture. He did not follow his own lines or run off stage.  He took care of the Body of Christ.  We also are to take care of His Body and care for His Body.  His Body is His Church (see 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27) and we are to take care of one another in the roles assigned to us by the Lord.  We are to have care for His Body in suffering or rejoicing (vs. 27).  The Lord cares for us in His Body by feeding us His Body and Blood (see 1 Corinthians 11: 22-24).  This cast is a cast of millions upon millions and each are dependent on each other. Jesus is the lead and this is not acting. It was not a stage cross to which He was nailed nor a fake styrofoam stone in front of the tomb.

Joseph of Arimathea was looking for the Kingdom of God and he buried Jesus’ Body.  When he put Jesus in his tomb, he may have thought that he was entombing the reign of God.  But even the large stone in front of his new tomb could not hold the Lord of life. He is risen.  By his service to the Lord, Joseph of Arimathea, helped form  The Apostles’ Creed: “and was buried and on the third day…”  Do not minimize nor maximize your calling in the Lord’s work. You just may have the ‘line’, the part that the Lord uses for His work of salvation. The Script is solid. 

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