Summary: Joseph of Arimathae shows how we are to react to Christ when He does not seem to come through and when our hope seems lost.
1. This day is the darkest day the world has ever seen - the day when the Son of God died on a cross because of our sin.
2. In our tenebrae presentation, the disciples are following Jesus and His ministry is going well - but as we will soon see, they will all leave him and he will be left alone on the cross. It had to be that way - for you and for me - no other could have paid the price.
3. Good Friday is a day to be honest with ourselves - to see ourselves for who we really are - to see ourselves as needing to humbly come before Jesus and confess our sin and our need for His grace.
4. As we consider theses things, this evening we consider how we respond to times when God seems to be gone, when the life and hope that Jesus offered seems to have disappeared.
5. This is how the disciples must have felt - not just the 12 but all of those who followed Him. Jesus had said he would arise but they did not understand it, let alone believe it.
1. There He hung on the cross - alone and in shame.
2. It seemed that the king of the Jews was really no king after all.
3. Would we have gone home discouraged, afraid - perhaps even angry at Jesus for the false hope that he had given us?
4. We take a look at how one man responded.
5. We read that there was disciple that we never heard of before - his name was Joseph and he was from Arimathae, a village about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem.
6. Mark tells us that he was a prominent member of the Sanderin, the Jewish ruling council. He was a man of much influence. Luke says he was a good and upright man - he was waiting for the kingdom of God - perhaps through Jesus he had a right understanding of what God’s kingdom was all about - unlike those who killed Jesus. Matthew tells us that he was a rich man.
7. John tells us he was a disciple, but a secret disciple because he feared the Jews. Luke says he had not consented to the decision and action of the council in condemning Jesus. He probably was not there - either not invited or he thought it safer wiser to abstain from the vote.
8. But now this secret believer became bold. He had seen how Jesus died - the peace and the way he had committed himself to his father.
9. He did not know that Jesus would soon rise again. He did not understand what his death really meant - was it a defeat or a victory?
10. What mattered to Him was not His own fear, His own confusion, His own disappointment.
11. What mattered was that His Lord’s body hung on a cross and tomorrow would be the Passover. Bodies were to be buried before the passover. To still be hanging on the Passover would be a further shame, an unholy thing.
12. The Romans would leave the body on the cross - to be mutilated and eaten by scavenger birds or wild animals.
13. And so he came out of the closet. He took a risk. He went to Pilate to ask if He could have Jesus’ body and bury it.
14. Normally those who were crucified were not buried and so even by asking Pilate could have taken action against him. His fellow council embers and Jews would see and hear what he was doing. He would be ostracized by them.
15. But somehow that did not matter anymore. He had to make his stand.
16. Along with Nicodemus he receives permission after - Pilate had verified that Jesus was dead.
17. He lowered Christ’s body from the cross - a lifeless Jesus. But even if it is over, Jesus body is precious and holy .
18. He took the body, wrapped in a clean linen cloth and placed him in his own new tomb that he had cut out of a rock - and he rolled a big stone against the entrance of the tomb.
19. As I think of what Joseph did two thoughts come to mind.
20. How do I respond when hope seems gone, when God does not come thru for me as I thought He would?
a. Do I walk away and find another way to pull things together? Do I figure that I made a mistake in even believing in Him?
b. Or like Joseph, do I continue to honour Him. Do I like Job refuse to curse Him?
c. What do you do?
21. Do I hide my faith as Joseph did?