2/14 Mark 15:43

43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

The religious council of Israel consisted of seventy men and the chief priest. They were the ones who had Jesus arrested and judged Him. These were the most respected men in Israel. Only the chief priest had a higher office. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were the only members we know of in the council who placed their faith in Jesus (John 19:39).

Our verse today tells us that Joseph took courage and went to Pilate to ask for the body. We may be inclined to think it was frightening to talk with Pilate, but I don't think that is what is being addressed. Joseph and Nicodemus were defying the entire council. The act of Joseph taking the body of Jesus down from the cross and burying Jesus in Joseph's own tomb was declaring himself a follower of Jesus. He would lose his position and authority and be blacklisted by Jerusalem's elite. He was casting his lot with the fishermen and a former tax-collector who were hiding behind a locked door. He would even be giving up participation in the Feast of Unleavened Bread because he was going to touch Jesus' dead body (Numbers 9:6).

Believe it or not, the same thing happens today. There are Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists who find their family and community reject them when they come to know Jesus as their Savior. Their businesses are boycotted and all interaction with them ceases. But like Joseph and Nicodemus, the reproach of Christ is worth more than anything in this world. It is a painful decision, but once you meet Jesus, you must make a choice.

Consider: We may not have such life-altering consequences from our decision to follow Jesus, but life will change. Friends will leave. Relations with family members will forever be altered. May we find the same courage that Joseph found to take that stand of identifying ourselves as Christ-followers.