The Cross Is The Defining Factor, Evans Olang

John 19:38-42, “38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. …. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, …”

In the light of Easter, may I share something about the cross. We start with an account of the burial of our blessed Savior Lord Jesus. Jesus had just died, his disciples were scattered nowhere to be found, the women including Jesus’ mother were standing there helpless. There was no one to claim His body. He had died like a criminal among criminals; the Father had turned His face away from looking at His Son taking His wrath for our sins. And this Man who had healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, taught multitudes had no one or less people attend his funeral when He died, leave alone claim His body, but then out of nowhere comes Joseph of Arimathea.

No mention of him is made in the entire New-Testament story, but only in the narrative which each of the gospels gives us of Christ’s burial, wherein he was chiefly concerned. Joseph of Arimathea was apparently a man of wealth, and probably a member of the Sanhedrin (the council that conspired to kill Jesus). According to Mark 15:43, Joseph was an “honorable counselor, who waited for the kingdom of God“. He was a disciple of Jesus, only secretly. He was not on the forefront like Peter, John and the rest. He was not known for the fear of the Jews. Maybe he feared that they would stop him from going to the temple, or kill him or he was concerned of what people would think of him.

What prompted this man to come out and identify himself as a disciple of a dead Man and claim His body? I believe he died with Christ the day Christ died. His love for Christ propelled him to do something, knowing that Christ loved him first and demonstrated it by dying for him, Romans 5:8. 2Corinthians 5:14-15, “14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” The cross awakened Joseph that he no longer wanted to live for himself, or afraid of what people would think of him. He came out and identified with the Man numbered among the thieves. The bible says that he had a brand new tomb, never used. Who knows if he built that tomb for the body of our Savior Jesus Christ? While people did not believe that Christ would rise again, Joseph had faith that Christ would rise again and would need his tomb for the weekend.

Seeing His Savior die on the cross naked, battered and bruised, the wrath of God poured on Him yet He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do“, this act awakened him. Something spectacular happened that day in the life of Joseph that he would not be silent no more. He had been secret to this point, but not any longer. While those who walked close to Christ and known by everyone to be His disciples  were nowhere, Joseph, least known Joseph “…asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus”

God raised up this gentleman to interpose in him, that the scripture might be fulfilled. When God has work to do, he seeks those like Joseph who are available to be used despite their background because they have seen the cost to appreciate the sacrifice. And for this reason, they can say “I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still …”Author unknown. Have you been a secret disciple like Joseph? Picture the cross of Jesus 2 thousand years ago and let that compel you to die to everything that has led you to stay secret. The cross is the defining factor, Paul says, 1Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified“. Blessings Ev

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