Mark 15: 43-46 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.
Mark 15 tells of the crucifixion of Jesus, describing in detail how Jesus took the place of a murderer and was mocked and beaten until His death on a cross. It is one of the most well-known stories ever told. But here we focus on the point just after Jesus’ death. At the end of chapter 15, another man is introduced by name: Joseph of Arimathea. This Joseph was important enough to be mentioned in all four gospels, described as a “rich man” and a “secret disciple of Jesus” (Matthew 27:57). He was a member of the Council, or the Sanhedrin, who called for the death of Jesus. What is most interesting, however, is how he is described in Mark 15:43. In this verse, Joseph of Arimathea is identified as a man “who was waiting for the Kingdom of God”.
This was the man who asked Pilot’s permission to take Jesus’ body. He gave Christ a proper burial, dignity in death, choosing to honor God rather than protect his earthly power. The beauty of Joseph of Arimathea is that his legacy by nature should have been one of material wealth and titles. It wasn’t. Instead he is known throughout the world, thousands of years later for the single decision he made to sit aside the reputation of men for the pleasure of God.
Here we discover a great truth: It is not our earthly position that determines our legacy but our spiritual posture. Your life carries legacy. The words you speak, the decisions you make, the life you lead, hold power. Joseph is not shown denouncing the Jewish leaders or stepping down from his position. He may have even done these things, but those were not the actions deemed worthy to add to the gospels. Likewise, as we fast we are not rewarded for those things we give up, but rather for the way we intentionally seek out the things of God.
May the fruit of these 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting be that we become known as a body of believers who are intentionally and wholeheartedly waiting for the Kingdom of God.
January 9, 2021