The Courageous Act of Faith
December 6, 2018
Reagan Phillips, Childcare Team Director
With so many Josephs in the Bible, the least known would have to be Joseph of Arimathea. He may just be the third string Joseph from the Bible. We think in awe of Mary’s husband, Joseph, Jesus’ trusted, earthly guardian. We are inspired by Joseph and his coat of many colors as he was sold by his brothers and ended up being the nation of Israel’s savior from slavery. But 3rd string Joseph of Arimathea? Joseph’s story is sometimes lost in the drama that was surrounding him.
Imagine the scene: Jesus has been arrested, tried, convicted, and now crucified. He has just been murdered in unthinkable ways. The disciples are terrified and filled with questions, doubts, and fear because they believed Jesus was king and now he is dead. Was he really the son of God? Did he die in vain? Will they murder his followers next? The disciples did not have the luxury of being on the other side of history and knowing the rest of the story.
Joseph of Arimathea was not immune to these same doubts, fears, and questions. In the Book of Mark, it tells us that Joseph was a respected member of the council who was searching for the kingdom of God. To most, it must have seemed that all was lost that day in the murder of Jesus. But Joseph “TOOK COURAGE” and went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. This one act put everything on the line for Joseph: his wealth, position, power, and even possibly his life. He risked it all with this public declaration. His love for Jesus could not handle His body being thrown in a shallow grave with common criminals. He wanted to honor Him with a tomb, wrap His body in oil and linen with the respect He deserved. Joseph was acting in obedience in faith because he had no idea God’s plans for that tomb. Joseph did not know his tomb would be empty in 3 days and be a portrait of freedom over death itself and the ultimate sign of God’s grace. He just wanted to honor Jesus because he loved Him.
This story fills my heart with such courage because all God is asking us to do is live a life honoring Him because we love him. This takes courage! But imagine the things that God can do with the simple acts of our day that are God honoring and done out of a deep love and gratitude for that empty tomb. Joseph’s courageous act of faith is a reminder to us every day that God is not done with the story. We may think sometimes that all is lost, but just like Jesus walked out of that tomb, God is not done with the story of this world. Tim Keller puts it best when he reminds us that there will be a day, much like the day Joseph’s tomb was emptied, that God will make “everything right, the day that everything sad comes untrue—on that day the same thing will happen to your own hurts and sadness. You will find that the worst things that have ever happened to you will in the end only enhance your eternal delight. On that day, all of it will be turned inside out and you will know joy beyond the walls of the world. The joy of your glory will be that much greater for every scar you bear. So, live in the light of the resurrection and renewal of this world, and of yourself, in a glorious, never-ending, joyful dance of grace.”
May we all walk with a joyful dance of grace because of Joseph’s empty tomb. Be faithful in the little things, because God is not finished with your story!!!