Week 5 | Friday
Week 5: Faith in Action
Joseph of Arimathea: Honor
by Janet Nygren
Read: Luke 23: 50-54
- We tend to think of the Council that condemned Jesus to be all of one mind. But this description of Joseph of Arimathea suggests otherwise. What aspects of Joseph’s character amongst his own people do you appreciate in verses 50-51?
- How does he show backbone with Pilate, the Roman authority?
- How does Joseph demonstrate honor for Jesus?
- Is it harder for you to stand up against your peers or those in authority over you?
- Can you think of a time that “doing the right thing” wasn’t an easy choice?
- Take a few minutes to honor Jesus as you consider the way he honored others during his life on earth.
- Do you have any stories to share that came up during your reflections today? How have you honored Jesus, or seen others honor Jesus, when it wasn’t easy to speak up on his behalf?
Back in November I was at a friendsgiving and the topic of religion was brought up. The girl sounded like she was against Christianity/church due to some of her experiences growing up. I explained my faith to her a little and said that God’s most important rules are to love him above all else and to love everyone else. We had a nice conversation and at the end she thanked me for sharing and said it was the nice discussion. It didn’t turn into arguing, it was simply both of us sharing. I hope that maybe what I shared can or did help her to be more open and receptive to God and Jesus.
Janet’s comment about what our faith looks like when we are left on our own struck me today. Now that I think about it, I think Nicodemus is mentioned in some accounts. Even so, it is good to know that Joseph offers his tomb after Jesus has died on the cross. In a way, it reminds me of the woman who anointed Jesus with the expensive perfume. The story is still being told! People continue to gather at this now empty tomb remembering Jesus death and resurrection. To stand alone for something you believe takes courage. There is no applause at the time from other people. But by standing alone and doing what is right, Joseph is remembered to this day! “ Don’t grow weary in doing well. Don’t surrender in the fight….” The words to that chorus came to mind. I also remember Paul’s words to the Philippians, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” . There is one significant difference. When Joseph offered his tomb there had been no resurrection. Now, we know the rest of the story!!!!
I wonder if I would have the courage to do what Joseph did. I have always tried to honor Jesus in conversations and talking to people one-on-one, and I don’t keep my faith a secret, but I think I am often overly concerned with what others will think about me if I am too public with my faith. Lately, a friend and I have been reading biographies of Christian heroes like Corrie Ten Boom, Gladys Aylward, Jim Elliot, and Hudson Taylor. Their lives are very inspiring and convicting. Like Joseph of Arimathea, these stories of courageous Jesus-followers need to be told and retold to every generation.
It's definitely easier for me to stand against those in authority, rather than my peers. I'm not afraid to speak out against a current system or practice in a meeting or similar setting, if I feel it is unjust like the murder of Jesus, for example. I would be absolutely OK writing a dissenting opinion.
But among other people on the same level as me, it can sometimes be harder. Most situations aren't as clearly unjust as the crucifixion, and my logical nature usually sees things from many sides. I absolutely used to care more about righteousness than relationships, but that's not really the case any more.