When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. – Matthew 27:57-61 (NLT)
Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin but did not agree with arresting or crucifying Jesus (Luke 23:50-51). He was a secret follower of Jesus (John 19:38) until he took the body of Jesus down from the cross and buried it in the tomb. This was a risk for him because he would have been ostracized by the council he served on. But after seeing Jesus die, Joseph’s faith in Jesus caused him to move. We are not told his beliefs about the Messiah or the Kingdom of God but something propelled him to announce himself as a follower of Jesus at his death. Maybe, like the centurion, all of the events surrounding his crucifixion was proof enough. Joseph risked ridicule and being kicked out of the Sanhedrin and the temple for his actions. Being a follower of Jesus is not always easy. Hard choices have to be made.
Have you experienced difficultly because you follow Jesus? What kind of ridicule did you endure? If not, you’ve probably heard stories of people who have in countries around the world. What do those stories make you think about? Do you see positivity or negativity towards Christians in this country? What does that mean for you and the church’s future?