Summary: Consider Joseph of Arimathea pre-resurrection story to inspire our post-resurrection faith.
57As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
62The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63"Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ’After three days I will rise again.’ 64So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."
65"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
On Friday, we remember Jesus died to save us from our sins. He died our death, in our place, taking full brunt the wrath of God. The Father was satisfied. Justice was served on our behalf. So Jesus died. That’s where we pick up the story today.
Millions on this globe today celebrate with this greeting “Jesus is risen!” and millions would reply “He is risen indeed!” But could this be real? How can the dead come back alive?
Today I want to speak on faith in the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ based on the story of Joseph from Arimathea . How is your faith? Perhaps it is not registering at all, or perhaps it is on life support, or perhaps your faith is stagnant. Is it growing and then stalling, needing a pick me up or is it soaring to new heights? How would you rate your faith today on a scale of 1 to 10? I trust your faith would be strengthened today and if it’s not existent that you’d find Jesus is worthy of your trust.
Well the disciples of Jesus did not fare very well when it comes to their faith. It sure looks like their faith would be anywhere from -1 to zero on that scale of one to ten. At one point, they declared they won’t disown Jesus, according to Matthew 26:35. It was a faith that came close to a ten! But when he was arrested by the large crowd armed with swords and clubs, the record states in Matthew 26:56 they and I quote “all the disciples deserted him and fled.” When it looks the disciples were outnumbered and knowing that the odds were against them, they took off, leaving Jesus at the mercy of his captors.
How can they NOT believe the words of Jesus who kept reminding them he must face the cross? It was certainly not a big surprise. Jesus predicted it will happen. Even since Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, He made it very clear that He must go to Jerusalem. That He must suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law. Then he would be killed and on the third day be raised to life (Matt.16:21).
At the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17, where Jesus’ appearance changed, face shone like the sun, clothes became white as the light, once again He repeated that He must suffer and be raised from the dead. What a moment to be there, surely the disciples who would have got it then.
Not much later, when the disciples could not drive out a demon, Jesus recognized they had little faith. And because of that little faith, He reminded them of His impending death and that He’d be raised to life, to build their faith up. For what looks like a failure His death will be turn to victory. So have a little more faith people! Guess what was the reaction? The record says in Matthew 17:23 “And the disciples were filled with grief.” Good grief, they did not hear at all that on the 3rd day He’d be raised to life!
Then again later in Matthew 20:17-19
17Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18"We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"