Holy Week Meditations – Wednesday – Joseph of Arimathea

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A short piece of scripture from Mark’s gospel:

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time.  When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.  Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

Gross St Martin - Grablegungsgruppe - Joseph of Arimathea Here is Joseph’s story:

Jesus never really had anything good to say about rich men like me but on the day he died I knew I could finally help. The women came to me and asked me and Nicodemus to help bury him. It was the least we could do.

The first thing I had to do was to see the governor Pilate. He’s a hard man but he respected me, more for my money I think than anything else. After my nervous audience with him I got permission to take Jesus’ body down.

The devastation on that hill outside Jerusalem will stay with me all my days. We had to borrow some pliers from the centurion to remove the nails from Jesus’ hands and feet. I lifted his body down, it was so light in my arms, hardly anything of him left. Mary was beside herself. I left her alone with him for about an hour, she held her son in her arms and wept. A sword pierced my soul at that sight.

It just so happened that I had commissioned a newly cut tomb for my family. Jesus was to have it: only the best for him. He always said he didn’t have anywhere to lay his head. I could give him that.

It felt a small comfort, too late really, but Mary and her friend got some comfort from seeing how we carefully wrapped Jesus in some brand new linen I had bought for the purpose and placed him in the tomb. It was the one small thing I could do for him.

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