Joseph of Arimathea
At a critical moment, Joseph of Arimathea turned from a secret disciple into a courageous influencer. He boldly requested the body of Jesus from Pilate, after the crucifixion. Then, with Nicodemus' help, he buried Jesus reverently in his own tomb, setting the scene for the resurrection to come (see John 19:38-42).
This is a man who stepped onto the stage of history, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy with his character and love for Jesus, inspires us today. Here are seven traits of a Kingdom influencer, inspired by his life:
1. Divinely Positioned
Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Jewish council—a Jewish leader who did not go along with those who conspired to murder Jesus. We also know he was wealthy and had influence in high places. His wealth and position were a gift from God, and he was in that place of influence for a reason.
When the time came, Joseph of Arimathea was ready to sacrificially offer up his reputation, wealth and position to serve His Lord; for, all along, Joseph of Arimathea was divinely positioned by God.
2. Courage to be Different
Joseph of Arimathea was "waiting for the Kingdom of God" (see Mark 15:43), and was known to be a good and just man. But there was a tension in his life, for he was a secret disciple of Jesus. Perhaps his own conversations with Jesus were like those of Nicodemus (see John 3), and he had learned the way of salvation, and he did not fit into the usual pattern of Jesus' apostles or wider circle of followers; neither did he fit into the community of Jewish leaders he was a part of. John tells us that he was a disciple of Jesus "secretly for fear of the Jews" (John 19:38).
3. Takes Action at the Pivotal Moment
While Jesus was alive, Joseph of Arimathea did not draw the attention of those around him to his faith in Christ, but when the time came to act, he showed no fear of repercussions or exposure. He approached Pilate boldly to ask for Jesus' body.
Pilate expressed surprise that Jesus had passed so soon (see Mark 15:44), which suggests that Joseph had an idea of the time of Jesus' death and acted immediately. So, while he is not listed as an onlooker, he was certainly in the wings, ready to receive the news, and to act. (Photo via Piqsels)
4. Fulfills God's Purpose
Joseph of Arimathea could not stop the terrible event of the crucifixion from taking place. Still, he buried his beloved Master in dignity, in his own prepared but unused tomb—a wealthy man's burial cave, situated in a garden. And so, Joseph of Arimathea fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus: "He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man's grave" (Isaiah 53:9 NLT).
5. A Heart for Stewardship
It was one of the most unusual gifts you could imagine! But Joseph of Arimathea's tomb happened to be nearby the site of Jesus' crucifixion. It was pristine and unused. This tells us that God chose Joseph of Arimathea ahead of time, and that in the preparation of that burial site, Joseph was moved by the Holy Spirit.
God gave Joseph wealth and influence, and a gift for stewardship. He used it to serve Jesus in the offering of a tomb. And so, the burial place that once belonged to Joseph of Arimathea became a testament to the glory of God—the scene for Christ's resurrection.
6. A Passionate Contributor
In the short time that Joseph and Nicodemus had available, they methodically covered Jesus' body in fine linen strips, along with the spices that Nicodemus brought (see John's account). They had to move quickly, for a sacred day in the Jewish calendar was only hours away. The women were nearby, standing opposite the tomb, watching to see where they laid Him; for they had their own plans to prepare Jesus' body with burial spices.
The name "Joseph" means "adding," "let him add" or "Jehovah has added" (Strong's H3130). So, Joseph of Arimathea was named for his contribution—and will be known in eternity for the part he played.
7. Outlasts the Crowd
When Jesus was buried, others who had walked with Him were nowhere to be seen. Many disciples had fled into hiding. When it mattered most, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene and the other faithful Mary were still present. They outlasted the crowd, and their sacrificial love and faith were rewarded.
The Rise of Marys and Josephs: From Hidden to History Maker
And so it was that Joseph and Nicodemus became the final people to view the lifeless, broken body of Jesus. And Mary Magdalene—who, among others, had watched the activity of Joseph and Nicodemus from nearby—returned on the third day, becoming the first to see Jesus as the risen Savior! (Interestingly, Joseph and Mary were present at His birth, and at His death and resurrection, a different Joseph and Mary were present, becoming a part of the Gospel story).
Mary Magdalene also became an unexpected influencer, being the first evangelist to bear the Good News after Jesus' resurrection. This is a reminder that Jesus delights in raising up those whom the world least expects. Likewise, you also have been chosen by God for His purposes.
What Joseph of Arimathea did was in secret, but it has been made known to all throughout history and recorded in Scripture! It's a reminder that Heaven's viewpoint is different from ours. He became an unexpected influencer who was central at that historical moment. Henceforth, Joseph of Arimathea's tomb would become known as "the empty tomb." (Photo via GetArchive)
So, what happened to Joseph of Arimathea? And what did he make of the events surrounding Jesus' resurrection? His tomb—his property—became the focus of a scandal and an investigation. His life may have been endangered, with pressures to come.
Did he see Jesus after the resurrection? Was Joseph of Arimathea present on the day of Pentecost? We are not told these things in the New Testament, but we can glean a great deal from this snapshot; for his story is recorded not only to complete the Gospel, but to describe the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. His story is there for us, and I believe the Lord is highlighting it right now, because He is raising up many 'Josephs' and 'Marys' in our day. For God is calling His unexpected influencers out of hiding, and they are going to shake the world.
This Is Your Season of Resurrection
Finally, I believe someone is reading this who has sought to be faithful to the legacy God has given you. There are some dreams and a ministry you thought you had left behind, but they will come to the forefront; you will see how the pieces fit into place.
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the most powerful event in history...and here, hidden at the heart of it, is a humble yet bold influencer. Perhaps you have felt that the past disqualifies you, or you have felt hidden away; or, you may relate to being stuck in a prolonged season of reset. God wants you to know that you are not 'on the shelf.' He is preparing you for unexpected influence. This is your season of resurrection.
(Notes:  Further study: Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; also, John 3 (Jesus' conversations with Nicodemus give us an insight into His relationship with Joseph of Arimathea, a peer, and likely friend, of Nicodemus.)
Whatever you do, don't miss another ELIJAH LIST email! Subscribe at this link: elijahlist.com/subscribe.
Helen Calder¬†is a prophetic minister and writer, and founder of Enliven Ministries, in the David McCracken Ministries family. Helen has a unique gift of equipping in the areas of prophetic ministry, discernment and prayer. She is known for Enliven Blog, an online prophetic training and mentoring resource that reaches thousands of people globally. Helen and Malcolm have been married for 37 years and are at home in Planetshakers Church, Melbourne, Australia.
To receive more words like this in YOUR inbox, subscribe FREE to the Elijah List at this link: elijahlist.com/subscribe.
Find us on:
* Facebook click here
* XAPiT click here