Faith in a Faithless Government

As I was finishing up my reading of the book of Mark in the Bible last week, my attention was drawn to a few verses at the end of Mark 15.  Let’s take a look at these verses.

Mark 15:42-45 “This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.)  Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet.  The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body.”

Some background is necessary for this passage.  Right before these words, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, was crucified on a cross.  In verse 37, he died.  Now, in verse 42, Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body so he could bury him properly.  So who was this Joseph and why is he so important to talk about?  We learn from other New Testament references that Joseph was a wealthy man.  Verse 43 also tells us that Joseph was “waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.”  Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, and wanted to see him buried with at least some respect.

The important part is in verse 43 where it reveals that Joseph was “an honored member of the high council.”  This means he was probably a member of the Sanhedrin, essentially the supreme court, back in Jesus’ day.  Most of the members of the Sanhedrin were vehemently against Jesus and his teachings.  By stepping up to Pilate, Joseph was putting his faith before his job, even before his life.  Who is to say that he wouldn’t be crucified right after Jesus for making such a request?

It’s not always easy to stand up for what you believe, especially in situations where it isn’t popular to believe something or you are downright against the faith/practices of the others in the group.  Work places, homes, and families are all examples of places and situations you will be challenged to display your faith like Joseph, or cower like some of Jesus’ other disciples.  I think what Joseph knew was that no matter what those he worked with and associated with thought of his request, it was the right thing to do.

When you do right by your gut, heart and faith, you will feel better knowing you did the right thing, just like Joseph did.  When have you stepped up bravely for your faith?


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