Verse of the Day Devotion. Luke 23:50
“And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man.” – Luke 23:50
Now, our focus verse takes place just after the death of Jesus. “And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT. And having said this, He breathed His last. Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, Certainly this man was innocent. And all the multitudes who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee, were standing at a distance, seeing these things.” Luke 23:44-49. The past twenty-four hours was constant torture and pain for Him, but now this time is over. He died. Now comes His burial.
A man came up and made this happen. “And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man” Luke 23:50. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, which voted to have Jesus executed, however we see in the next verse he voted against the majority. “(he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God.” Luke 23:51. We also see in John’s and Matthew’s gospels that he had become a disciple of Jesus. “And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.” Matthew 27:57. And we also see that he was a rich mas as well.
Now, this rich, righteous man who was a follower of Christ went to Pilate. “this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.” Luke 23:52-53. Now, this was not a random tomb. This tomb was owned by Joseph. “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.” Matthew 27:59-60. And because it was preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin, they held off the preparation of the body until the next day, Sunday. And He did not go alone. “Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed after and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.” Luke 23:55. These women were undoubtedly the same as those who reported the resurrection to the disciples. “Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.” Luke 24:10. Now these ladies went back to prepare spices and perfumes for His body. “Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed after and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. And they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” Luke 23:55-56. They prepared the spices and all that was necessary to prepare the body. They did not want to violate the Sabbath, therefore they left and planned to prepare the body on Sunday.
Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin showed much courage in what he did for Jesus. In fact, he took a tremendous risk in going to both the Sanhedrin and to Pilate. “Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” Mark 15:43. He took a risk in voting contrary to the vast majority of the Sanhedrin, “he had not consented to their plan and action.” Both of these actions could have brought great trouble on him. However, he was a follower of Christ. “And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came therefore and took away His body.” John 19:38. He risked much in doing what He did for Christ. I want to encourage us all to do His work no matter the cost. We can be a true follower of Christ as Joseph was, in secret, without denying Him. However, it is a risk. And if caught, there may be ridicule and hatred now, with far more serious results coming. We must always remember that God is always with us. As the Apostle Paul so clearly said. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5. And besides, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.