Daily Bible Reading – 4.2.2021

Rev. Ben Lovell   -  
Daily Bible Reading – 4.2.2021:
Mark 15:42-47 (NIV) – It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
Pastor Doug’s Comments:
Friday before sunset was considered Preparation Day. That means this day required planning for all work had to be completed, journeys ended, and food prepared. Jesus’ burial would be considered work. It had to be completed before the Sabbath began.
Also, according to Jewish law (Deuteronomy 21:22-23), a body must not be allowed to hang beyond sundown on any day, including the Sabbath. Joseph fulfilled the pious obligation to bury the dead and thus prevented a body left on the cross from affronting God and defiling the land and the Sabbath.
Surprisingly, it was a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who boldly went to Pilate asking for Jesus’ body. This was the group that found Jesus guilty. Normally, it was family and friends who buried their loved one, but they are nowhere to be found.
Mark tells us that Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God to come. Matthew tells us Joseph was a disciple and rich. In Luke, he is described as a good and righteous man who did not consent to the Sanhedrin’s plan. In John, he is said to be a secret disciple. Joseph knew there was something special about Jesus for he had an open heart for the things of God unlike his colleagues.
So, when Joseph “went boldly” to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body, it suggests it involved risk. Jesus had been executed for treason as the king of the Jews. To ask for his body would make him look like a sympathizer to his Jewish counterparts.
Pilate confirmed Jesus was dead and turned his body over. Since Joseph was wealthy, he bought the linen and provided a previously unused tomb for Jesus’ burial. Such tombs appeared to belong to wealthier families. Most of the population were buried in “simple shallow pits.”
Rolling a stone sealed the tomb and prevented the body from being disturbed and shut down its potential defiling effects. A tomb with a door was ruled as not spreading defilement on all sides so one could safely walk above it without being defiled.
Just as the women had watched Jesus’ crucifixion from a distance, they are shone here observing where Jesus was buried. The 11 are not mentioned, but the faithful women are present until the end.
As we have discovered from the other accounts, Joseph was a secret follower of Jesus until this act when he came out of hiding. He boldly went to Pilate. By doing so, he declared his affiliation with Jesus. He risked his standing as a prominent member of the Council. He generously spent his own money. It was obvious by those who heard about his action, that he was “one of them.”
Questions To Consider/Discuss:
Have we boldly gone public with our affiliation with Jesus? Can others see by our actions and our generosity that we are “one of them?”