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Holy Saturday Devotional

By Pastor Chad Meeks

“There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, who had not agreed with their plan and action [the plan to kill Jesus]. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God. He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had been placed.”

Luke 23:50-54

I cannot even imagine how confused the disciples of Jesus must have been at His death. They assumed Jesus would establish His kingdom on earth. They assumed His kingdom would be forever. Now, here was their dead Messiah; and all their plans, hopes, and dreams were dashed. 

Most of Jesus’ disciples went into hiding. Can you blame them? Jesus had just been killed. If they killed Him, what’s to say they would not kill His followers? Joseph of Arimathea, however, does not go into hiding. We know very little about Joseph. Interestingly enough, though Scripture says he was a disciple, it seems that Joseph had been a bit standoffish in His admiration and dedication. Until now. He now appeals to Pilate for the body of Jesus. 

Why? Why now? Did he think this was an injustice? Did he still believe Jesus was the Messiah? The gospel writers don’t say. We know he was part of the Sanhedrin. He was rich. He had an unused tomb. And he was “a good and righteous man.” He was a disciple, but was incognito given his leadership position. It is curious that he would volunteer to bury Jesus. He didn’t just bury Jesus, he helped prepare the body for burial. 

By all accounts, it appears Joseph was so moved by the death of Jesus, that he took it upon himself to see to Jesus’ interment. I don’t think this is the first crucifixion Joseph had ever seen. Crucifixion was a common form of capital punishment by the Romans. The Romans had the method down to a grisly, brutal science. Jesus’ crucifixion, however, seemed to transform what was a shy admirer into a bold follower. 

Perhaps the gospel writer gives us a bit of a clue behind Joseph’s motives when he writes that Joseph was looking “forward to the kingdom of God.” He anticipated that God was going to do something with His people and with creation. He was expecting God to work. It may have come as a surprise to Joseph himself that God would use the crucifixion of a dead Nazarene to soften his heart. One may even say, Joseph was one of the first people to be spiritually impacted by the death of Jesus. While Jesus’ closest followers were hiding, Joseph (along with a few faithful female disciples) took it upon himself to bury Jesus. 

On this Holy Saturday, ask yourself: How does Jesus’ crucifixion impact me today? In what way am I moved because of His sacrifice?      


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