September 4, 2009

This All Happened On Friday...

"This all happened on Friday.... Joseph from Arimathea, who was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come, gathered his courage and went to Pilate to ask for Jesus' body. Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth, and taking Jesus' body down from the Cross, he wrapped it in the cloth and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus' body was laid." (Mark 15:42-47)

There is not much known about Joseph from Arimathea other than that he was a member of the high council - the zealous religious law-abiding army that contemptuously debated Christ and later persecuted His followers - and that he was a rebel. Yes, a rebel. There was a quiet burning rebellion going on in the heart of this man. And while Christ's life was not enough to unleash this fire, and His words were not enough to set it off, it was His death that finally grabbed a sword and drove it through the heart of this man. Joseph's life was changed by Christ's death. [Read that again and let it soak in.]

It's also interesting that when you read this account in John 19:38-42, you find that Joseph is being aided by another man named Nicodemus. The same teacher of religious law - member of the high council - who had come to Jesus under the cover and darkness of night to ask, "Are you really the One?" We have no evidence that Nicodemus left that night decidedly moved, shaken, and determined to follow Jesus. There is nothing that gives us any idea that he joined the crowd of followers and began to hang on every word that Christ said. But what we do know is that Nicodemus' life was changed by Christ's death.

The humble, brutal, sacrificial death of the Messiah unleashed the inferno within them that said, "Enough is enough! I will no longer stand in the shadows and pretend that my heart has not been ravaged." Reputation no longer an issue. Social status among their religious counterparts no longer a care. Death brought life. And when someone finds life - realizing they didn't deserve it or earn it - they are changed.

My life was changed by Christ's death.
It still is. Every day.
Is yours?

"This all happened on Friday...."

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