50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, 51 had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning.
Why did Joseph ask Pilate for Jesus’ body? The four Gospels supply us with many thoughts, musings and possible answers to that question but, why don’t we enter Joseph’s inner debate as he seeks to answer that question. Joseph is pondering…
“I’m taking a big risk, asking Pilate for the body of Jesus, a convicted criminal. I’m well aware that Jewish law prohibits executed criminals in family tombs, but I own a new, unused tomb in a garden near-by that would not violate any of our laws if used.
This is the Day of Preparation and our rabbinic tradition teaches that a body should not be allowed to remain unburied beyond the day of death. I feel I should hurry to bury Jesus’ body as sundown is near. Perhaps I owe this to him since I was not in agreement with the action taken by the Sanhedrin in condemning Jesus.
For a long time, I have been looking for the Kingdom of God, and Jesus did say he is the dawning of that kingdom. My friends, Jesus’ disciples, certainly believe he is innocent and is sent from God. John the Baptist also called him, the Kingdom of Heaven.”
In the end, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked to be given the body of Jesus. Mark, in his Gospel, even said he went boldly. Why do you think Joseph asked for Jesus’ body? Could you or I find the courage to do the same?
God of Discernment, guide us as we seek answers to things that trouble us and then help us find courage to take action favorable in your sight. Amen.