Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Today we will look at Joseph of Arimathea (in the New Testament) about his faith and the steps that he took. We need to be reminded that Scripture reveals to us real people with real problems. No matter what occurs in life, we learn that all things bring us back to what it means to have God in your life.
There needs to be time a place where you will conclude “Jesus is all that really matters.” Will you stand up for Him? There needs to be a willingness to surrender your life to Him. It will not be about who you will keep or lose as friends. Your choice to follow Jesus will sometimes break up your family, too. In the end, Jesus is all that matters, even through the hardship and difficulty.
At some point you will have to stand up for Jesus and not be fearful or ashamed of Him, or ashamed of yourself for believing in Him.
One of things that we find out about Joseph of Arimathea is that he was wealthy. See if the following verses give a picture of Joseph’s life.
8 Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need.
9 Otherwise, I might have too much
and deny You, saying, “Who is the Lord?”
or I might have nothing and steal,
profaning the name of my God.
32 “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.
Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters.
15 To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.
As you read God’s Word, your mind is being transformed into a person with pure thought and discernment. A person who truly seeks God is transformed into a person who resembles Christ–a light in the world. Our actions define who we are before others.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.
A lot of young people have to get to the point where they are not ashamed of who Christ is in the effort to preserve friendships and relationships.
Joseph of Arimathea is written about in all four gospels. Each one has a little something different to express, but all of them are key points.
He was a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one (John 19:38).
A secret life is one of fearfulness. He was in fear of the Jews. You should not live in such a way where you are concerned about what someone may find out about you. Living a secret life for Joseph of Arimathea was out of a fear of getting caught and the truth being known. When you protect the things in your life and keep them hidden, your friends and family can’t know who you are. You are pretending to live in such a way when you’re not really doing it.
Fear, to be fair, is a very real experience for many.
In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
Who did Joseph fear?
1 The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was drawing near. 2 The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Him to death, because they were afraid of the people.
He was a member of the Council. He was against their decision. Note that these people were friends and coworkers, and some had the ability to hurt him in different ways:
- His good name (Mark 15:43)
- Physically (Matthew 10:28)
- Financially (Matthew 27:57)
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went in to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.
50 There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, 51 who had not agreed with their plan and action. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God.
Joseph came to a point in life when it didn’t matter what people thought of him, or what they would do to him. He couldn’t go in to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body without others finding out about it.
Joseph made a decision not on what he would lose or keep, or what people thought of him, but on what he believed about Jesus Christ.
Sometimes it takes a first step in living for Jesus, and the second and third steps become much easier.
Joseph went boldly (took courage) in taking a stand for Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:43). He took Jesus’ body down during the day (openly and in plain sight of others) (Luke 23:53). Note that he also only asked for the body of Jesus. If he wanted to keep it a secret he would ask for all three bodies. His focus was on Jesus.
Now, the secret was out. Everybody knew he was a follower of Jesus. Joseph was not concerned about what others thought of him.
Joseph took the body and prepared it for burial on Preparation Day. The Sabbath was about to begin (Luke 23:54).
- He took the body down
- He took it to his home
- He had to wash the body
- He had to anoint the body
- He had to wrap the body
- He took the body to the tomb that he had bought for himself
- He had to go back home and purify himself before the Sabbath
Joseph’s action encouraged another person who came to Jesus by night…Nicodemus.
39 Nicodemus (who had previously come to Him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes. 40 Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the aromatic spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews.
When you stand up for Christ, others will see your efforts and take a stand for Christ, as well. When you live as a Christian should live, others will be encouraged in your faith and boldness.
Make up your mind to live for Jesus Christ every day. When you do, you will be an encouragement to others.