photo 22Luke 23 verses 50-52. “Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.”

Another way in which our Lord was vindicated after his death is by the way God providentially arranged his burial in a separate tomb by himself. If his body had been flung into a communal grave along with other bodies, it would have been impossible to point to the empty tomb as clear evidence of his resurrection. Instead Luke tells us very carefully how and where the body was laid and who was involved. So when the women, mentioned in verse 49 and verses 55 and 56, returned and found the tomb empty, it was not because they had mistakenly gone to the wrong tomb. They knew exactly where Jesus was buried. All through the centuries the resurrection of Jesus has been denied, but the people involved were right there. They were eyewitnesses and they knew the truth, which has been handed down to us.

God achieved this great vindication of Jesus by the effect the death of Jesus had on the moral conscience of one of the Jewish councillors, Joseph of Arimathea. Luke tells us he was a good and righteous man who did not agree with the decision and the deed of the council, which he must have considered totally unjust.

But the council was a national body and their act became a public act. Joseph saw that it was not enough to dissent privately. He had to publicly disassociate himself from this deed. Luke also tells us that Joseph was “waiting for the Kingdom of God” (v 51). By publicly associating himself now with Jesus in what appears to be Jesus’ most shameful and humiliating end, Joseph was declaring his own belief that the Kingdom of God had indeed come with Jesus of Nazareth. By going to Pilate it meant that very soon the Jewish council would see not only the moral implication, but also the religious implication of what Joseph had done.

We who live in this world where God’s Son was crucified might well ask ourselves if we are doing anything to make it clear publicly where we stand in relation to the claims of Christ.