Friday, April 6, 2012

Joseph of Arimethea Finds the Kingdom of God

Mark 15:42-47 (ESV)
And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, [43] Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. [44] Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. [45] And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. [46] And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. [47] Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Looking for the kingdom of God. It is peculiar that he now finds courage, takes courage. He was looking for the kingdom of God, Joseph of Arimathea was. He was on the council, he saw the trial. He had no courage there. Perhaps was undecided, on the fence. In any case it took a lot of courage even now to give Christ his grave. Many would have seen this as an act of rebellion, a sympathizing gesture. But now he takes courage. Why? Because now he has seen what he was looking for, the kingdom of God. It was not a kingdom to be found in power, it was not a kingdom to be found among earthly ways of ruling. But he saw the crucifixion. He saw the death of Christ, and understood there that the centurion facing him was right, this was the Son of God. There in the death of Christ he found what he was looking for, the kingdom of God that rules not according to the law, but in the forgiveness of sins which were atoned for there. He gave Jesus his grave. He knew he was only loaning it. He knew it would be there for him in three days time ready for him to occupy when his time came.

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