November 10

Text: Matthew 27:58-61

This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him.  And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.  And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.  (NASB)

The secret disciple was not secret after Jesus’ crucifixion.  He asked Pilate for Jesus’ body.  As the twelve hid in fear in the upper room, Joseph took the body off the cross.  Joseph took the body of the man the Council wanted executed and prepared it for burial.  With respect, Joseph placed the body in his own unused tomb.  To protect the body from thieves or animals, Joseph sealed the entrance to the tomb with a rolling stone.  In these acts, he openly declared his love and respect for Jesus to both the Romans and the Jews.  One cannot help wondering how these acts affected Joseph’s future.  When Matthew wrote nothing about the twelve, he introduced us to Joseph.  The apostles retreated in shock while Joseph advanced in profound respect.

Something leaps out in these verses.  Not only does Matthew introduce us to Joseph, but he said two women witnessed the burial.  The secret disciple did not keep a low profile, Nicodemus helped with the burial, and two women watched.

One woman stands out because of who she was before she met Jesus.  Luke (8:2) said she had seven demons.  Do you realize what that suggests?  (1) Most of us would not have wanted any association with her.  One demon maybe, but seven?  Get real!  With seven would any of us see godly potential in her?  Or, instead, would we have considered her a lost cause?

(2) Yet, Jesus saw potential for discipleship.  To the extent that he healed her.  The result: she never forgot what Jesus did for her.  At Jesus’ crucifixion, there she was.  There was nothing she could do but be there.  Often appreciation encourages the existence of courage.

Suggestion for reflection: Consider the importance of “being there” in hard times.  (Read 2 Timothy 1:15-18.)

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