One of my favorite things to think about while reading the Bible is how ordinary people would do ordinary things only to have it used in an extraordinary way at the end. Case in point is one man who was named Joseph of Arimathea.
We don’t know much about this man. He’s only mentioned 3 or 4 times by name. And there are only a hand full of recorded words that describe him, his past and his experiences with Jesus. But there’s one thing that’s recorded about him that I find simply captivating. And that’s how God used this man to accomplish a feat that’s still turning the world upside down.
After Jesus’ crucifixion and death upon the cross, the Bible says, “Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” (Matthew 27:57-60) I like how Matthew adds that Joseph laid Jesus in a tomb that he himself had carved out of the rock. I don’t know how long it took Joseph to do this. I don’t know how many times he would have busted up his knuckles. I don’t know how old he was when he finished his work. But I’d say it’s safe to say that Joseph probably never thought of anyone else but him laying down inside of it!
If Joseph only knew what would happen with his tomb, and how God would take something done by an ordinary man in an ordinary way and use it to reveal something most extraordinary, do you think he would’ve thought differently about it while cutting it out? Probably so. But either way, I bet this man never looked at Isaiah 53 or at any other tomb in the same way after Jesus came walking out of his!
“And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9)
I talked to the editors at Gospel Minutes and I received their permission to put up a PDF of the article that I referenced a few days ago written by Clem Thurman called “Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow.” I encourage you to check it out if you don’t receive these papers through your congregation. Brother Thurman did an excellent job relating an “obscure” piece of scripture that’s thousands of years old to our modern-day mindset when it comes to finding fulfillment in the wrong places of life. Just click the link below!
PDF of Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow
We are experiencing a broad public search for spiritual fulfillment. This could end up being named the Decade of Spiritual Awakening. Interestingly, the search is as much concerned with health and social benefits for “the here and now” as it is in eternal life. The Houston Chronicle published an article, “Searching for Spirituality”, Dec 29, 1999 and in it said: “For many, the quest for good physical and mental health begins with contemplation, meditation, prayer and other life-enhancing rituals.” More and more we are learning that man is a being that needs not only physical exercise but spiritual nourishment to be at his best. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
E. Marsh, in his book, Pearls, Points, and Parables, included this incident:
“I asked a student what three things he most wished for. He said, ‘Give me books, health, and quiet, and I care for nothing more.’ I asked a miser, and he cried, ‘Money, money, money!’ I asked a pauper, and he faintly said, ‘Bread, bread, bread!’ I asked a drunkard, and he called loudly for strong drink. I asked the multitude around me, and they lifted up a confused cry, in which I heard the words, ‘Wealth, fame, and pleasure!’ Then I asked a poor man who bore the character of an experienced Christian. He replied that all he wished for could be met in Christ. He spoke seriously, and I asked him to explain. He said, ‘I greatly desire three things: first, that I may be found In Christ; second, that I may be like Christ; third that I may be with Christ.'”
(Col 2:10) And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn Hitchcock