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Biblical People

Joseph (6) from Arimathea

After Jesus dies, Joseph from Arimathea provides for the burial of Jesus. We don’t know much about this Joseph, but we do know three facts. 

First, he’s wealthy, rich enough to have his own rock-hewn burial vault on his property. 

Next, he is a member—a prominent one—of the Jewish Council, waiting in expectation for the coming of God’s kingdom.

Third, and most importantly, Joseph is a disciple of Jesus—albeit secretly, out of fear for what would happen to him if other Council members find out.

Not wanting to see Jesus’s body suffer the indignity of hanging on the cross over the Sabbath, Joseph seeks permission from Pilate to take down the body and give Jesus a proper burial. 

This tells us one more thing about Joseph. He is bold when it matters. 

Though he may have been cautious with what he revealed about his personal beliefs to the Council in the past, requesting Jesus’s body for burial clearly shows Joseph’s alliance with Jesus. There is now no doubt about Joseph’s loyalty.

In making his position public, Joseph risks much. He could be kicked off the Council, ostracized from society, and suffer death, just like Jesus. Though we don’t know if any of these things take place, we also don’t read anything more about Joseph in the Bible.

How much of our position, power, and prestige are we willing to risk if we let everyone know we’ve gone all in for Jesus?

[Discover more about Joseph from Arimathea in Matthew 27:57–60, Mark 15:42–46, and John 19:38–42.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.