That Other Good Man

It is remarkable that only two men in the Bible are described as “good men.” Most are not surprised that Barnabas is called good, but they are amazed when they learn who that other good man is. His actions are so important that they are mentioned in all four of the gospels. He is Joseph of Arimathea, the man who “loaned” his tomb to Jesus.

Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, the council which governed Jerusalem. The King James describes him as an honorable council member, but the New King James more clearly described him. He was its prominent council member. His goodness brought him respect from his peers.

Joseph was a rich man, who used his blessings to glorify God. Sometimes we tend to immediately assume that rich men cannot be godly, but such is not true. Riches dominate the lives of every person, except the lives of those who do not love riches. Joseph used his wealth to purchase the linen garment in which Jesus was buried. It was used to obtain one of the choicest burial sites, a tomb just outside Jerusalem surrounded by a garden. He was a rich man who gave his best to the Lord.

Joseph was a man who did so much for the Lord when all others stood and watched. He went before Pilate and claimed the body of Jesus at a time when being Jesus’ friend even caused His disciples to flee. It was Joseph who took His body from the cross. It was Joseph who purchased the burial shroud. It was Joseph who wrapped that body in the linen cloth. It was Joseph who had hewn his own tomb out of the rock in that garden. It was Joseph who gave that tomb to Jesus who had no place to lay His head. It was Joseph, who with Nicodemus, used a hundred pounds of precious spices for His burial. It was Joseph who rolled the stone to close the grave that heaven would open.

Joseph was a bold man of faith when it really mattered. Joseph was described as a secret disciple, for others did not realize his devotion. Yet he alone stepped to the front at the crucial time in the life of Jesus. Mark said that Joseph went in boldly before Pilate and asked for the body. The Greek indicates more than just asking; he demanded the body!

Joseph was waiting for the coming kingdom. He knew about the King and His promise of the kingdom. When others thought the kingdom would never happen, Joseph’s faith did not waver. The Lord taught that men should put the kingdom first, and Joseph honored His teaching.

Where would we be without Joseph? The story of Jesus could have been so different without him! Think about it. Someday another body will be raised from that same tomb!

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