TOPIC:“And Don't Forget Joseph”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“When the evening was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple” (Matthew 27:57)
There are two important men by the name of Joseph in the New Testament who played a very important part in the life of Jesus. One was Joseph of Nazareth who at the birth of Christ gave Him a home. The other was Joseph of Arimathaea who at the death of Christ gave Him a tomb. Little is known of both.
The New Testament gives very little information about Joseph of Arimathaea. Some say he was a member of the Sanhedrin . Matthew tells us he was a rich man and a disciple of Christ (27:57). Mark tells us he was “an honorable counselor” which means he was a man of high character and personal integrity (15:43). Luke tells us he was a good and just man who did not consent to the death of Christ (23:51). John tells us that he was a secret disciple of Jesus who would not reveal his loyalty to Him for fear of the Jews (19:38).
Let me now reconstruct the scene for you. As we come to the text it is Friday, the day before the Sabbath, and the Jews were anxious that the body of Christ should be taken down from the cross before the Sabbath which began at six o'clock in the evening. It was now sometime after three o'clock in the afternoon when Joseph appeared on the scene. And because of his appearance on the scene, and what he did, brief as it was, Joseph will never be forgotten. His record will stand as long as we remember Good Friday and celebrate Easter Sunday. Let me ask you: Wouldn't you like to do something for Christ that will cause you to be remembered like Joseph of Arimathaea? I would!
Let us look at Joseph of Arimathaea for a few moments.
Consider, for one thing, he had a COURAGE that cannot be DENIED. We read in verse 58 these words about him: “He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.” Mark puts it this way: “Joseph of Arimathaea went in boldly unto Pilate.” The Living Bible renders Mark's words this way: "Joseph...gathered . . .