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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

June 6, 2023

The Bible Edge

Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have a Bible Edge

John 19:38

And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

Not all lessons of life are spoken, some are just performed. The story of Joseph of Arimathaea is one such lesson. He gave no commandment, preached no sermon, taught no lesson verbally. But my oh my what a lesson he left from which we can learn much!

He was a disciple of Jesus Christ meaning that He received Him for who He said He was and was growing in obedience to Him, for this is what it means to be a disciple. His life story teaches, among other things, to trust the Lord as being exactly who He says He is. Who does He say He is? The Door, the Way, the Good Shepherd, the Truth, the Life, the Resurrection, and perhaps the coup de grace statement of all concerning Himself: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)

Not only that, but Joseph’s story teaches us that even “secret disciples” are given public tasks to perform. Remember the woman who had the issue of blood for 12 years? The same was true for her. She believed that if she could just touch the hem of Christ’s garment that she would be made whole. She did and she was! But Jesus turned when He sensed that “virtue” had left Him, and asked, “Who touched me?” To which the woman confessed it was her. Individuals may begin their journey with the Lord as a “secret disciple” but sooner or later they will confess Him openly before all. To each and every one the Lord Himself gives a special promise in Matthew 10:32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Joseph did, the woman who touched His hem did, others did, and others will.

One last thing. Joseph of Arimathaea did which he could with that which he had when he had the opportunity to do so. Many fail here. They could do something for the Lord, they have all that is needed to do something for Him, they even have opportunity. But, living for self or for other reasons, they hold on to what they have and miss their opportunity. This is also demonstrated by the woman with the costly alabaster box of ointment that anointed the Lord’s body before His passion. She gave what she had when she had the opportunity to do so. Do you think that today, she regrets her gift to Him? Or Joseph, does He regret begging Pilate for the body of Jesus? After all, remember, He was a rich man who became a beggar for a noble cause. What humility, what love, what devotion, what a man.

All can be this man, or this woman. When the time comes, when the opportunity arises, when the public profession is warranted, will we follow Joseph’s example? Will we learn the lesson this chapter of His life teaches? Only time will tell.

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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