The Word's Christian Fellowship, Inc.
#108 Continuing-in-the-Word-Type Folks,  Part II                                                June 1, 2014

The Gospel records reveal how one of the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ rose up to take - and then continued
to take - astounding believing action according to the Word of God that the Lord Jesus Christ had taught.

Matthew 27:57  When the even was come [following the death of the Lord Jesus Christ], there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

Joseph was a disciple of Jesus and he was a rich man from Arimathaea, a town which some scholars place northwest of Jerusalem.  We’ll continue with the record in Matthew.

Matthew 27:58  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60  And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

Having begged Pilate and received the dead body of the Lord Jesus Christ, Joseph then wrapped it in a linen cloth, not the traditional burial wrappings, but a simple linen cloth that could have been used in a variety of ways.  Following that, it says he laid the dead body of the Lord Jesus Christ in “his own new tomb.”  Evidently, Joseph had the right to the land where the tomb was located.  Furthermore, the tomb had recently been hewn out.  It was “new.”  Considering the fact that Joseph was both wealthy and from a town miles from Jerusalem, he would have undoubtedly already had a family burial plot in Arimathaea.  Having a burial plot for himself in Jerusalem would have been pointless, not to mention its location.  John’s Gospel reveals more about the location of the tomb or sepulchre.

John 19:41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid [emphasis added].
42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

A grave site, close to a place of public execution, would not have been the location Joseph would have chosen for his own sepulchre.  Nevertheless, before the crucifixion, Joseph acquired the land and he had the “new” tomb hewn out.

We must also understand that as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, Joseph would certainly have known what Jesus Christ had taught his disciples on a number of occasions.  For example, in Matthew’s Gospel:

Matthew 16:21  From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Joseph knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was going to suffer and die.  And he believed it.  But most importantly, Joseph knew that God would raise the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and he believed and acted in the light of the Truth of his lord’s coming resurrection.  He acquired the land and hewed out the tomb because he knew the Lord Jesus Christ was going to suffer and be killed.  And - he wrapped his body in a simple linen cloth, not the traditional burial wrappings, because he believed God would raise the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. What a believer! What a disciple!

There is a prophecy in Isaiah which concerns the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 53:9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
“His grave with the wicked” refers to the area of the tomb.  “With the rich in his death” or, more properly, “with the rich man in his death,” is the part of that prophecy Joseph of Arimathaea fulfilled with his believing action on God’s Word.
 

Following the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ many, if not all, of his disciples acted only according to the darkness of his suffering and death.  They continued in their grief.  In what is recorded in the Gospel records, Joseph of Arimathaea stands alone as the one man who acted according to his believing that God Almighty was going to raise His beloved Son from the dead as the Lord Jesus Christ had taught.  He continued in the Word during the most horrific time in human history since the fall of Adam.  He was truly one of those “continuing-in-the-Word-type folks,” wasn’t he?  For those of us who are continuing in the Word today and who are patiently waiting for the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Gathering Together unto him, Joseph of Arimathaea is a most inspiring example, isn’t he?

©  Stephen A. Harrison,  The Word’s Christian Fellowship, Inc.  4415 Yank Road  Wilson, NC 27893