“You can remove me from your future notifications giving opportunities to study the Bible. If you haven’t heard, a few months ago I stopped believing in God.” This was a comment in response to a free seminary class that was offered online. When my wife Mary called my attention to this comment, I couldn’t help but think that there has to be a tough story behind this rejection of faith.
Usually, something terrible happens, something inexplicable, totally dark and destructive. When the chaos of events doesn’t line up with the song we sang as kids, “God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He’s so good to me,” then we’re tempted to join this person declaring his atheism on Facebook. But it’s at moments like these that we need to take another look at Joseph of Arimathea and the role he played right after the most despicable act in human history.
God’s Son was lied about, falsely arrested, and handed over to the Roman soldiers to be mocked, beaten, and crucified. From noon till three it became as dark as a solar eclipse, and then Jesus screamed in agony, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Then he died.
Why risk your life for the corpse of a Jewish prophet who could raise the dead, but couldn’t save himself from dying as a criminal, exposed and ridiculed? Why go to Pilate when Peter and the other disciples are nowhere to be seen, and ask for Jesus so you can bury him honorably in a wealthy man’s tomb? What was Joseph still looking for even after the crucifixion—a hope that kept him going when everything was hopeless?
"Now it was already getting dark on the Preparation Day, the day before the Sabbath. Knowing this, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Jerusalem Council and a man expectantly waiting for the Kingdom of God, boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead, so he summoned the centurion and asked him to verify that Jesus was truly dead. When the centurion assured him, Pilate gave Jesus' corpse to Joseph. Now he had purchased a linen cloth. He used it to wrap up the body and placed him in the tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, saw where he was placed." Mark 15:42-47
Joseph was still looking forward. He was still expectantly waiting for God’s Kingdom to come even when he took the lifeless body of Jesus down from the timbers of the cross, wrapped him in the expensive linen he had purchased, and left his body on the shelf in a stone cave like grave.
Mark tells us that he was still looking for a future time when God’s Kingdom will be installed here on earth, and then bad things won’t happen to good people. What’s this kingdom going to be like? What will be the signs that soon this Kingdom will come? What’s the terrible “Abomination of Desolation” Jesus talked about with his disciples during the last week on earth with them? To get the answers we need to go back in the Jewish Scriptures to Daniel. And that’s where we are going tomorrow as we begin studying the Book of Daniel in our Devos.
LORD, keep speaking to this man whose hurt has caused him to deny your existence. Help him to see that the very fact that he knows he’s living in a world that is filled with badness, proves he hungers for goodness, and you’re the only one who can make things turn out right and good in the end.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!