Do you know any men names Joseph, Joe for short? How many men in the Bible are named Joseph?
Did you guess 12? (Yes) When you think about these ‘Josephs’, who comes to your mind first? Was
it Jacob’s son in Genesis, with the coat of many colors” Or was it Mary’s husband in Luke 2: From
studying the lives of these two men, we could learn many Life Application lessons.
But do you know about another Joseph in the Bible., the New Testament man who was the “Tomb-
Lender” for the Lord Jesus? He was known as Joseph of Arimathaea. Think about what the Scripture
tells us about him and be impressed by the kind of service he rendered to the Lord Jesus before and
after His crucifixion. (Just imagine what his own personal testimony would be like about those days!!!)
Information about Joseph is found in all four Gospels (Matt. 27:57-60, Mark 15:42-46, Luke 23:50-53,
and John 19:38-42). When we are first introduced to him, we are told he was from Arimathaea, a city
of the Jews northwest of Jerusalem, that he was rich, that he was an honorable counselor (a member of
the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling counsel), that he was a disciple of Jesus who waited for the kingdom of God to come. We are told that he was s good and just man and that he had not agreed with the
counsel’s decision to crucify Jesus.
No doubt he knew much about the events happening around Israel during the ministry of Jesus, about
HIS teachings, trial and crucifixion. He was there on the scene. Probably Joseph had heard Jesus say
HE was going to Jerusalem and there be arrested, beaten, put to death and the third day rise from the
dead (Matt. 16:21). He surely believed the words of Jesus and possibly thought, “What can I do in that
series of events to help my Lord Jesus?”
Joseph knew that Jesus had no tomb of HIS own and that HE needed to be buried somewhere. He
knew men were crucified just north of the city at a place called Golgotha. He likely had his own tomb
already at his estate in Arimathaea. Why would he build a tomb for himself near the busy, noisy area
near Golgotha? So in preparation for the burial of Jesus, it seems reasonable to think he had a new
tomb hewn out of a rock in a garden on his own property, near the place of crucifixion. Had you ever
thought of these possibilities?
Before you see Joseph going to Pilate after the death of Jesus, to ask for the body of Jesus, there
is another word which needs to be considered. In John 19:38, it is the word ‘secretly’. (Read the verse)
The word does not suggest that he was a coward, but strategy. The Greek word means ‘undercover’ or
‘in hiding’. Possibly this means that Joseph was hiding somewhere near the cross or the tomb, waiting
or watching the events of the crucifixion. Then when Jesus died, he planned to go to Pilate and
request the body of Jesus to bury it.
The Gospels tell us that he and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus from the cross, cleaned the
blood from it, and wound it in linen cloths, with a mixture of myrth and aloes according to the Jewish
burial custom. They took the body to the tomb prepared it and carefully laid it inside this tomb.
Then they (and others) rolled a huge stone (maybe a ton heavy) over the entrance of the tomb. And
then they left the garden.
Joseph is not mentioned again in the Scripture. What do you suppose happened with him
during the text few days of his life? When did he first see the risen Lord Jesus? How many times
during those days did he see Jesus and hear HIM teach? Did Joseph watch Jesus ascend into
Heaven, after HIS 40 days of post-resurrection appearances (Acts 1:3,9)?
We do not know the answers to these questions. But we can draw 4 very clear Life Applications
from Joseph, the ‘Tomb-Lender’s’ life. Carefully ponder these applications –
- He was a disciple of Jesus. This means that he believed by faith that Jesus was the Jewish
Messiah. Q1 – Have you believed in HIM as your personal Savior? He died for our sins and rose
again. (I Cor. 15:3,4, Rom. 3:23, 6:23, 10:9,10,13, Acts 16:30,31)
- He listened to the teachings of Jesus and believed them. Somehow he understood HE would
die and rise again and need to be buried. Maybe he understood Isaiah 53:9 which says Jesus
would make HIS grave with the rich. Q2 – Do you in simple faith believe what God says in His
Word? (about doctrine or prophecy)
- Joseph saw a way he could serve (minister to) the Lord Jesus, by preparing a tomb and placing
HIS body in it. He just did all of this when the time came to do it. Q3 – How about you? Do
you look for ways you can serve the Lord with what HE has given to you? When you know
what you can do for HIM, do you just act in simple obedience, with HIS help, and DO IT?
- He was a man of real courage! He trusted God, went boldly to Pilate and requested the body
of Jesus. He wanted to give it a proper burial. (No one else was bold enough to do this.)
Q4 – How about you? As you see ways which you can speak for or serve the Lord Jesus, are
you full of courage from HIM or fearfully ‘under cover’ in hiding like the other disciples, during
those days? (Ponder – Deut. 31:6 and Heb. 13:5,6)