November 9

Text: Matthew 27:57

And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.  (NASB)

Joseph was a mysterious person, a rich man from Arimathea.  Mark said that he was a prominent member of the Council who was looking for Godís kingdom.  Mark also said his act of requesting Jesusí body from Pilate was an act of courage.  Luke said he was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man who had not consented to the plan to crucify Jesus.  He took Jesusí body down, prepared Jesusí body for burial, and placed the body in his (Josephís) tomb.  John said Joseph was a secret disciple because of the Jews (the Council?), and Joseph was assisted in the burial by Nicodemus.

There are more questions to be asked than there are questions answered.  For example, how many persons on the Jerusalem Council were disciples of Jesus?  We know only of Nicodemus (John 3:1) and Joseph.  Of the two, we know of an encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus.  Did Joseph have such an encounter?  What did these men who were disciples do when the plan to kill Jesus was determined?  Were they excluded from such discussions?

Or, what was a secret disciple?  How can one be a disciple and keep that commitment a secret?  How many secret disciples did Jesus have?  Was that a pre-crucifixion possibility, but not a post-crucifixion possibility?  Was that a possibility for a righteous Jew?

All answers to such questions involve a significant element of conjecture.  Christians can involve themselves so much in seeking answers to such questions that they neglect their own discipleship.  Because we decide who is in and who is out does not place us in and others out.  Paul wrote plainly to Christians in disagreement that every person would give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).

If in the judgment day God accepts someone we rejected, it is highly unlikely any of us would be so foolish as to declare to God, ďYou cannot do that!Ē  Salvation is Godís decision, and Godís alone.  Hopefully, we would find joy in the salvation of anyone Godís mercy saves.

Suggestion for reflection: How devoted are you to being Jesusí disciple?  (Read Luke 9:49-62.)

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