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Joseph and Nicodemus


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#1 Asyncritus

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 08:51 PM

Lk.2.35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

As we have seen, Pilate’s giving the body to Joseph of Arimathea quite possibly ended his political career.

Given that he attempted on about 6 occasions to get Jesus set free,

given that he publicly washes his hands of the whole evil business,

given that his wife sent a strongly dissuading message to him (implying surely, that they had discussed this man in private on many occasions),

and given that he puts up what must have been a very BIG sign saying that Jesus was the Messiah (THE King of the Jews) – since it was written in 3 languages

- it is quite easy to see the thoughts of his heart.

But it wasn’t only the thoughts of HIS heart which were revealed. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea’s hearts were also exposed for the enemy to see.

Take Joseph’s first.

As possibly a very rich man (because he owns a NEW tomb), who held a high office in the nation: (Mk 14.35 Strongs: 1) a councillor, senator 2) a member of the Sanhedrin): he went ‘boldly’ and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. I have no doubt that he was emboldened to do this by Pilate’s obvious reluctance to condemn Jesus, but even so, he knew that his evil colleagues would hear about it.

But he didn’t care. Let them do their worst – expel him from the synagogue, confiscate his property, blacken his name as they would, he no longer cared.

And in so doing, he performs a deed of kindness for the Lord which can never be repeated. A deed which shows so plainly the love, the affection, the respect, the regard that he had for the Lord and His Father, that words cannot convey the immensity of the value of his action in the eyes of the Father.

Imagine if you will, that your only, well-beloved son, is murdered in Iraq, and as is the custom, they are about to sling his dead body into the local rubbish dump, where it will be exposed to the beaks of the vultures, and be burnt over a period of days.

And now imagine that someone steps up, and at the risk of his position, property and standing in the eyes of his colleagues, asks the governor of Iraq for the body, and says ‘No, you can’t let that happen, sir. Let me have it, and I’ll give him a decent burial in my family tomb’.

How could you possibly repay such a deed? I don’t know, but I’m certain that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ can, and will, when the time comes.

Edited by Asyncritus, 16 October 2009 - 04:51 PM.

God, be merciful to me
The Sinner

#2 Asyncritus

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 08:53 PM

The Burial of the Lord

It now becomes apparent that Joseph and Nicodemus were working together. While Joseph was getting the body down from the cross, Nicodemus was wheeling the grave clothes and the spices to the tomb: and he knew where to take them.

The spices weighed 100 pounds, and for an old man, it would be an impossible task to carry that volume and weight anywhere. Spices are very light, and it must have been 2 or 3 full bags. Therefore, he had servants, one of whom may have carried the pitcher of water. Not only spices, but water, and oil too.

Then the grimmest part of the whole burial took place.

42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

It was getting dark swiftly, and much had to be done. To get the body off the cross was no mean physical feat and quite impossible for Joseph, a single, old man. Therefore he had servants, or alternatively, Pilate issued instructions to his soldiers to help him do it.

45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Since even was coming on, to see what had to be done, they had to light torches. The ghastly task of removing the nails from His hands and feet had to take place, and the hammers which had been used to knock the nails into place were probably the very ones used to remove them.

They laid the body on a bier, which Joseph had provided, and carried it to the tomb. The enemy was watching, and there was no longer any question of concealment of their identities.

So a brief torch-lit procession, and (Joseph and Nicodemus) Jn.19. 40 …took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

Edited by Asyncritus, 16 October 2009 - 04:53 PM.

God, be merciful to me
The Sinner

#3 Asyncritus

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 08:54 PM

Cleaning up the body

This brief statement conceals some very sad details. It is most unlikely that they did not clean up the blood from the body before wrapping it in spices.

Many, many tears must have been shed, as they cleaned the blood from the wounds inflicted by the crown of thorns from off His forehead , and the smiting of His face with the rods. The wounds in His hands, and in His feet had bled. His back, where He had been flogged halfway to death had bled.

Many, many tears rolled down their faces, as they wiped the blood from off His dead, kind eyes, now sleeping the sleep of death, and off the face that had now gained the smoothness of relaxation that death so often brings to the careworn. Off the lips that had spoken the words of life. Off the back that carried the sins of the world. Off the hands that had done so much good for others. Off the feet that had walked so many miles, bearing the gospel of peace.

They may even have sutured the spear wound in the side too, and anointed the body with oil.

There was no great hurry now. They could not eat the Passover – but another was here, of far greater importance in the eyes of God.

Edited by Asyncritus, 27 September 2009 - 09:09 PM.

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The Sinner

#4 Asyncritus

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 08:56 PM

The Linen Clothes


Four times, four separate times, John mentions the grave clothes, saying each time that they were made of linen:

19. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

20.5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not
in.

6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Linen was a most expensive cloth – it still is today – so the rich man in the parable was clothed in ‘purple and fine linen’, and it is surely not improper to ask, where did those expensive grave clothes come from?

You could not dash round the city, to find this expensive cloth, especially as the shops were closing for the Passover and the Sabbath. Therefore, the cloth came from either Joseph or Nicodemus. I think that the balance of probability is in favour of Nicodemus, since he brought the spices, and must have thought ahead about the clothes.

Be that as it may, if he could not have hastily made such purchases, costing a small fortune as they did, then he had bought them for his own burial, and was now giving them to the Lord. So Joseph gave the tomb, and Nicodemus the linen clothes and the spices. And both were acts of extreme kindness.

Is it significant, I wonder, that the Psalm says:

45. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

And again, the hands of God are the hands of His servants.

8 All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Edited by Asyncritus, 30 October 2009 - 09:23 AM.

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#5 Asyncritus

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 08:58 PM

The Final Kindness

By the light of the torches, they performed these final acts for the Son of God, who loved them, and had given Himself for them.

They were all giving what they could. Mary and the family at Bethany had given that most exquisite gift of fragrant perfume. Maybe she had broken the cruse, as the AV says, so that it could never be used again. Who knows?

These men were giving up their tombs, spices, linen cloths, reputations, positions. Sacrifices well pleasing to the Father.

And so, as He lay in the tomb, surrounded by the fragrance of the nard, and the spices – myrrh and aloes – He slept, waiting for the morning to come, when His eyes would be re-opened once more. When He would stand again, enveloped in the fragrance of these loving gifts. When He would ascend to the right hand of the Majesty on High, still surrounded, not by incense as the High Priest was compelled to be, but with the perfumed sacrifices offered by these loving people who believed and trusted in Him.

They have set us an incredible example of love and kindness. Let us, in our turn, do no less for our brethren, and for any who come our way needing that touch of tenderness and love. For many have entertained angels unawares.

And we can never ever tell how far a kind deed will go. These went into heaven itself, to the right hand of the Majesty on High.

May ours do the same.

Asyncritus

Edited by Asyncritus, 29 September 2009 - 09:43 AM.

God, be merciful to me
The Sinner




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