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Theology Tuesday for
Sunday, August 8th
, 2021

 

Scripture: Luke 23:50-53
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost 

 

He is only mentioned for a few lines in each of the Gospels but his actions impacted the story of the resurrection. We really do not know much about Joseph of Arimathea. In Matthew, Mark, and John's Gospels, he is called a disciple of Jesus. In Luke's Gospel, we are told that he is a good and righteous man "who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action." Luke also tells us that he was awaiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.

In all the Gospels, Joseph of Arimathea goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus. "This burial act fulfills the legal requirements for the burial of criminals (which according to Roman Law, Jesus was)  in order to prevent the land from becoming defiled."

One commentar asks: "How heavy is the body of a dead man? Only with superhuman strength would this pose be possible. Yet, Joseph of Arimathea alone carries Jesus’ lifeless body. How did he do it? Why did he do it? Luke says, “He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:51). Is this act good enough? He was on the council. He disagreed with the majority. Why could he not stop the crucifixion from happening in the first place? Why did he fail to convince his fellow council members? Is this good deed enough to make up for such a monumental failure? Or is Joseph of Arimathea at the right place at the right time? Is he able to dignify Jesus’ body after death? Does he play the vital role of the dissenter, picking up the pieces of the wrongs of the group? Does Joseph forward God’s plan for Jesus’ death and resurrection? How weighty a task. What superhuman strength must we each have to forward God’s plan. Yet, God prepares us. We are ready."

Question: How do you find the strength to do the difficult tasks of Kingdom-building, of justice-making, of picking up the pieces of the wrongs done in this world?

This is one communtiy of faith's interpretation of Joseph of Arimathea's story.
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