Mark 15:42-47: Courage and kindness.
“42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.” NIV UK
Courage and kindness are two qualities which never fail to impress. They move us; touch our hearts; influence towards higher things. We inevitably feel the call of their example.
Joseph of Arimathea showed both in great measure. Don’t underestimate the guts it took for him as ‘’a prominent member of the council’’ – the council which had just had Jesus put to death – to identify so publicly with the Lord. When most of Jesus’ followers were not to be seen for dust, Joseph was there with this moving act of loving service. It was a courageous action. It certainly would have taken ‘boldness’ to approach the Roman governor and ask for Jesus’ body.
It was also a kind thing to do. We learn from elsewhere in the gospels that Joseph gave Jesus his own tomb.
Therefore, we can add that it was a costly thing to do:
- Potentially, costly to his reputation; his standing;
- But also, costly to his pocket. He ‘’bought some linen cloth’’ (46) with which to wrap Jesus’ body, and he gave Jesus the tomb he had prepared for himself, presumably at his own expense. (But he got it back didn’t he?!! Think Resurrection Sunday! He may have thought he was giving it to Jesus, but the Master only wanted to borrow it for a short interval).
Whenever we come to God, in Jesus’ Name, we can come ‘’boldly’’ (43). Joseph must have wondered what kind of response he would receive from a tough, high-ranking Roman. We need be in no doubt about the welcome awaiting us at the ‘’The throne of grace’’ (Hebrews 4:14-16).