Matthew 27:57-60 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
Here, we see that Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. The disciples who were always with Jesus during His three and half years of ministry are nowhere in the scene for two reasons, mainly out of fear as their lives would also be in threat and secondly, they had no influence on Pilate, due to their low profile.
A rich man has a voice in society. Rich people are prominent newsmakers and whatever they say and do becomes history. But nobody would pay attention to what a poor man would say sitting under his roof. (Eg: Mukesh Ambani, JRD Tata, Yusuff Ali)It’s quoted in Proverbs that a poor man has no voice.
In those days, Joseph of Arimathea had a voice because he was rich. The poor people weren’t in the scene when it came to the burial of Jesus. They came in large crowds to hear the gospel, for healing and for bread – they are benefactors, consumers i.e the needy.
God uses the rich for His ministry when there’s a need for resource money. Being a man of influence, Pilate considered Joseph’s solicit and Jesus’s body was given to him.
And just as it was preappointed by heaven, Joseph honoured the body of Jesus as prophesied by Isaiah 700 years before his birth.
Isaiah 53:9 – He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
When Jesus was born, He was laid in a manger; but when Jesus died, He wasn’t buried in a memorial park or a dumpyard. His body was wrapped in a clean linen cloth, and was placed in Joseph’s new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. This was God’s plan. Joseph then rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
John 19:38-40 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.
Both Joseph and Nicodemus were secret disciples and they were of the same class. At the appointed time, they were men of action who took the courage to approach Pilate and disregarding their reputation they came to the frontline to claim for Jesus’s body that was brutally stricken, disfigured and coated with blood. The disciples were not able to do this for Jesus. They reflected their love for Jesus by doing so, cleaning His body and wrapping it in linen cloth.
There are many who secretly watch our ministry and have a deep love for Jesus, but just like Joseph and Nicodemus, they’d rise up in the right and appointed time to serve and fulfill the purposes of God!
Luke 18:18-27 A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”
People get confused with the above passage. There’s a wrong teaching circulated that the rich need to sell all that they possess and distribute it to the poor. Jesus didn’t ask Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea or anyone else to sell out all their property and give to the poor – this was told particularly to the ruler and also to the disciples. The problem with regards to this man was that his heart was full of material things, Jesus had no place to enter his heart. This rich ruler probably had a high call to be Jesus’ disciple and his wealth stopped him from following Jesus. Our hearts should be set on Jesus and not on having a lot of money – just like Matthew, the tax collector; though a government official, he settled everything, resigned and set out to follow Jesus when he was called.
The things that are impossible with people are possible with God. Jesus wants to embrace each one of us and have us all spend eternity with Him; and therefore let us choose to remain in His love, fixing our eyes on Jesus – the Bright Morning Star, the Lily of the Valley, the Fairest of Ten Thousand! Hallelujah!
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About the Author
Ps. Damien Antony
Born and brought up in a Christian family, Ps. Damien Antony possessed an unquenching quest for truth right from his boyhood days and eventually his relentless search led him to the Bible. He is a Revival Preacher, Bible Teacher, Leadership Trainer, Author and a Life Coach. He moves under the anointing for Prophetic, Healing, Deliverance, Inner Healing and Financial Breakthrough. God has also blessed him with an Apostolic Mandate to take the Universal Body of Christ to the next level of revelation and anointing.
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