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Daily Devotionals

Day 16 – Issue 41

todayMay 1, 2015 5

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Be Still Know

Matthew 27.57-60 NLT

‘As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left.’

We know very little about Joseph of Arimathea. The Gospel of Mark tells us that he was an honoured member of the high council of the Jews, and that he was waiting for the kingdom of God to come. The Gospel of Luke comments that he was a good and righteous man and the Gospel of John informs us that he was a secret disciple of Jesus because he feared the Jewish leaders. But that’s all we know. However, this brief account of him going to Pilate and asking for the body of Jesus reveals that he was a man of exceptional courage. Such an initiative could easily have exposed him to enormous risk both from the Romans and the Jews. But he knew that this was the right thing to do, and he went ahead.

It is never easy to be courageous. The pressure is always upon us to conform and fit in with our society. We don’t like to surprise the people around us and to be thought odd or unusual. We certainly don’t like to expose ourselves to danger and risk. Joseph’s brave action shows the reality of his devotion to Jesus. It is not surprising that he has been venerated over the centuries and that many legends grew up around him. Indeed, one of the most famous is that in the year 61 AD he was sent to England to preach the gospel and came to Glastonbury in Somerset.

It is very unlikely that any of the legends about Joseph have any historical basis, but it is good for us to recognise his courage and celebrate his godly example. When we are next tempted to saying nothing about our faith in case people don’t appreciate it, or to say nothing about an injustice at work, we would do well to remember the courageous example of Joseph
of Arimathea.

Question: In what situation do you need to be courageous at the moment?

Prayer: Lord God, we thank you for the example of Joseph. Help us to stand up boldly for our faith however unpopular it makes us. Amen

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Written by: Matt Weet

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