Expository Studies

Play Video
Play Video

Daily Encouragement

Play Video

August 13, 2012

Joseph of Arimathea

Courage To Speak

Matthew 27:57, Page 1555

    In response to a question, I thought we would take a look at the courage of Joseph of Arimathea and see God encourage us today.  This man asked Pilate for permission to take down the body of Jesus Christ from the cross and bury it.  Joseph of Arimathea presents an interesting study in fear and courage.

Matthew 24:57-58, Page 1555

“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.

      The Riches of Joseph.   In Matthew 24:57, page 1555, we read that Joseph was a rich man (“ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος“).  In parallel passages, we learn other important information about Joseph of Arimathea.    Arimathea was a city of the Jews (Luke 23:50, page 1650).  We also see that Joseph was a rich and powerful man.

       The Position of Joseph.  In Mark 15:43, page 1591, we read that Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Council (the Sanhedrin).  This Council of Jewish religious leaders (presided over by the high priest, and including the elders and scribes) had passed judgment upon Jesus for death.  They turned Jesus over to the Romans for execution (Mark 14:53-65, pages 1583-1584; Mark 15:1, page 1589).    Joseph of Arimathea, however, did not consent to the plan of the Council, because he was a good and righteous man (“ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς καὶ δίκαιος“) (Luke 23:50-51, page 1650).  With Joseph, we understand that God places some believers into positions of power, and they do not agree with everything that the religious leaders do with their power.

       The Righteousness of Joseph.   Joseph of Arimathea was  a disciple of Jesus Christ. (Mark 24:57, page 1555).  Joseph of Arimathea “was waiting for the kingdom of God” (Mark 15:43, page 15910).  For many Jews, they expected that when the Messiah of Israel would appear, He would install His physical, earthly kingdom in power and crush His enemies, including the Romans.  Jesus, however, came in human flesh to fulfill the prophecies (for example, Isaiah 53:1-12, pages 11542-1156; Psalm 22:1-31, pages 874-876) that Messiah must first suffer and give His life to pay for the sins of all humanity, including me and you.  Later, He would return in power and glory to begin His reign physically upon the earth (Zechariah 14:1-21, pages 1492-1495; Psalm 2:1-12, page 857-858).  Today, we have seen the fulfillment of the Messiah dying for the sins of everyone, but we still await the day when the Messiah will return to be begin His earthly reign in power.  So, if Joseph was a good and righteous man, why did he not do more to protest the action of the Council when it condemned Jesus to death?

      The Fear of Joseph.  Although Joseph of Arimathea was a good and righteous man, he was also a man of great fear.  In John 19:38, God described Joseph of Arimathea as a “secret” (” κεκρυμμένος“) disciple for fear of the Jews.   You may recall that the Jewish leaders had determined to put out of the synagogue anyone who confessed Jesus as the Christ (John 9:22, page 1674).  In fact, Joseph kept his confession of Jesus a secret because of the fear of not only losing his position on the Council, but he also the fear of arrest and prosecution by the Jews (consider the hiding of the disciples after death of Christ in John 20:19, page 1696).  Joseph kept his confession of Christ to himself, until the time came for him to make an open declaration of his concern and care for Christ.  Courage does not mean an absence of fear, but rather the power of God in your life to act upon your faith, even when it means risking your power, position, and perhaps your own life.  The time had come for Joseph of Arimathea to overcome his fear, and leave his life of secret discipleship behind.

       The Courage of Joseph.    On Friday evening, the day Christ was crucified, Joseph of Arimathea went and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:57, page 1555).  By openly seeking the body of Christ, Joseph was opening himself to questions about why he would be doing this act.  In this simple request, Joseph of Arimathea left behind the secret place of hidden discipleship.  Instead, Joseph stepped into the public light of displaying his love and concern for the body of his Master, Jesus Christ.  Today, every believer needs to evaluate if you are living a life of secret discipleship, or are you standing up for Jesus?  God will always be faithful to bring opportunities for you to stand up for Him.  Will you stand up for Jesus Christ today and declare you are His disciple today?  I find it interesting that we read that Joseph of Arimathea had help from another disciple of Jesus on that Friday evening.  Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel who had been born again, helped Joseph of Arimathea with the burial and preparation of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 19:39-40, page 1695).  I urge you read all about Nicodemus in John 3: 1-21, page 1658.  On that day of crucifixion, at evening when all the disciples had fled from the authorities and left Jesus alone with the Father (Mark 14:27, page 1587; John 16:32, page 1689), and Peter had denied Christ three times already (Mark 14:66-72, page 1589), then Joseph of Arimathea stepped forward and sought the body of Jesus Christ, and buried him along with Nicodemus.  We should all be encouraged by their bravery and determination to serve Jesus Christ, even in His death, by caring for His body. 

        So we learn more about courage to stand up for Jesus today.

     ●  If you occupy a position of power, be sure that you do not remain a secret disciple of Jesus Christ forever. 

    ●   At the right time, Jesus will empower you with courage to speak up for Him and let the world know you are truly His disciple. 

     ●  When you make your open declaration of faith in Christ Jesus for the first time, do not be surprised if a Nicodemus helps you with the task Christ has set before you.  Your open testimony may encourage other believers to declare their faith in Christ also, by putting their faith into open action for Christ Jesus. 

Application for Today


        As I walk through life today, I want to be sure that I follow the leading of Jesus in every aspect of my life, especially when the time comes for me to step forward and overcome my fear.  Like Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus will help me to stand tall with Him, and no longer live as a secret disciple.  Today I will serve Christ openly and for His glory.  Will you stand up for Christ today and no longer be merely a secret disciple?

 Christ Assembly Basics 

Christ Assembly provides free access to various studies from the Bible, the Word of God. The studies in this website are not inspired, but God produced the Bible, consisting of sixty-nine books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament). The Holy Spirit inspired authors to produce original autographs of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those original authors wrote over the course of many centuries. They wrote divinely inspired words and every word was divinely inspired. The authors communicated in their own styles, and with their own vocabulary, but God breathed out every word of the final autographs. The words in the Bible really matter, and deserve careful study. 
As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
We accept the teaching of the Word of God. As born again believers, baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the anointing from God teaches us all things. We love to study the Word of God as we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord. God blesses all of us when we read His word, hear His word, and heed His word. We share original studies of the Word of God without cost and we do not receive donations. We support the finances of this ministry through private means, so that we are not a burden to anyone. We oppose charging people to read books, articles, journals or other studies of the Word of God. Such work should be supported by donations, but not in prescribed amounts and not as a requirement to gain access to what God has freely provided. What God has freely given, we should freely share. Just as Paul worked making tents, so we work to support this ministry. 

 Christ Assembly License

The author of all original material on this website retains all legal and equitable rights to the properties at issue. The author granted Christ Assembly a limited-use, revocable license to publish material on this website, while reserving all ownership rights to the original author. You may use any original material on this website to the glory of God, but you may not receive anything of value for such use. You may not receive any donations related to any original material on this website. All use of original material on this website is subject to the revocable, limited license above. You must conspicuously indicate on any use of the original material that it originated from ChristAssembly.org.  Any revocation of the license shall be posted on this website and all rights to use material may be revoked without prior notice. By copying and using any original material from this website, you consent to such license. Christ Assembly opposes any payment for access to studies, articles, journals, or other publications of studies concerning the Word of God. As God has freely given, so also the products of His grace should be freely shared.