Joseph of Arimathea, many fables have been told about him, but here is the truth. He was a member of the council that had condemned Jesus, but he himself had not consented to the condemnation. He was a “good and righteous man,” and he was “looking for the kingdom of God.” By this we learn that by faith and faithfulness, he had established a reputation for upright living towards God and people—and also that he had heard the preaching and teaching of the Bible to cause him to look for God’s coming kingdom.
Whether or not he at this point believed that Jesus was the King of that Kingdom is not clear; it is clear that he was a good and righteous man. He had not consented to their decision to kill Jesus, and so while he had failed to prevent that cosmic crime, he now acted in the only way left for him to express his dissent at their immorality. He took the body of Jesus, gaining permission from Pilate to do so, and laid Jesus with dignity in a never used tomb. We are told that the women saw where Jesus was laid—and therefore knew where to come back to when they discovered the empty tomb.
To be a good and righteous person means ultimately to look for the advance of the kingdom of God. And to look for the advance of the kingdom of God centers on Jesus and his death and resurrection. By these standards, are we good and righteous people? Are we spending our effort and our time and energy to advance the kingdom of God? Are we using our position of influence to help advance the kingdom of God? The example of Joseph of Arimathea shows us that we are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
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