Summary: Looking at Joseph of Arimathea, we see what He did with the body of Christ and compare it to our responsibility to today's "body of Christ."
Mark 15:42-47 (NIV2011)
42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached,
43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.
45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.
46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV2011)
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Once again, I want to take some time to look at how the other three Gospel writers tell this story:
Matthew 27:57-60 (NIV2011)
57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.
58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.
59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 and 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.
Luke 23:50-54 (NIV2011)
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man,
51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.
52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.
53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.
54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
John 19:38-42 (NIV2011)
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.
39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.
40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.
41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.
42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
This story now takes us to just a few moments after Jesus has died. The issue NOW was this, “what is to be done with Jesus’ body?”
Romans typically did not bury crucifixion victims; part of the degradation of the penalty
If the Romans DID bury Jesus’ body, they would have put him in the graveyard of a common criminal
Often family members would have to buy the body off of the cross
So, a rich man named Joseph stepped up to care for the body of Jesus.