Summary: This message explores what our reaction and devotion should be to the Body of Christ, based on the example of Joseph of Arimathaea, and his devotion to Christ’s physical body.
Notice in v. 58 (KJV) that the Bible says, "He went to Pilate, and BEGGED the Body of Jesus." Jospeh pleaded, he beseeched on behalf of, he vocalized his desire for the body of Jesus. He begged for the body.
Note the fact that God used one man. He does not always look for a group, an army, or a nation. He will search out one man to serve His purpose. (Look at Ezekiel 22:30 - "I sought for a man...") Sometimes God just looks for a Moses, a David, a Samuel, or an Esther. All He needs is one person who will devote themselves to fulfilling His purpose.
It is both a challenge and an inspiration to see the difference, the impact, that one person can make for God. I don’t know whether you will see the impact of this or not, but related in our text is the fact that: ONE MAN MOVED THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Though Joseph moved the physical body, we are seeking to help move the Spiritual Body of Christ, the Church, into a place of resurrection and revival.
One person’s actions made a difference. One person’s burden, one person’s involvement moved the Body of Christ.
What about those actions, though? What did Joseph do that we can apply to our lives? Notice the following:
1.) HAVE COMPASSION ON THE BODY -
The body of Christ may have been in a mess, bloody and bruised, but Jospeh had compassion on it. He had a passion for it. The same can be said of the Church. Our appearance is not always appealing. Let’s be honest. But we should be compassionate, and not critical.
2.) DON’T DESECRATE THE BODY -
Joseph wrapped the body in clean linen cloth. The Bible describes clean white linen as representing true righteousness. Isaiah says that our righteousness is as filthy rags. If you want to help the Body, BRING CLEAN LINEN TO THE BODY. Care enough to live right, and be a holy example.
3.) BE WILLING TO WORK -
Nothing is done without effort. For Joseph to have a place for Jesus’ body, he had to carve out a tomb in the rock. That was hard work. Thank God for people who will get involved, who will not sit back and observe, but who will stand up and operate! *There will never be effect without effort. What are we working toward?
4.) PREPARE A PLACE FOR POTENTIAL RESURRECTION -
The body was taken from the cross, wrapped in clean linen, and placed in the tomb. Though some would say the tomb was a place of death, it was really a place of potential resurrection and life. We must seek to position the Body of Christ, the Church, for a potential resurrection.
5.) BUILD A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE FEEL DRAWN -
Mary Magdelene and the other Mary was sitting opposite the tomb. And if the tomb was a place of potential Resurrection, these ladies were not drawn to death, but to life. In fact, they were drawn to even the possibility of life! Too many churches are in a death grip. Declining numerically, Spiritually, and in morale. We have to be a channel that is ministering life!
But it all begins with what we saw at the beginning of the text.
6.) INTERCEDE FOR THE BODY -
Joseph begged for the body. We must intercede for the Body of Christ. Only God can do what needs to be done, and we must implore His help! And though everything else Joseph did was important, none of it would have mattered, nor effected change, had he not begged for the body.