As the evening approached, it was time for Jesus to be taken down from the cross and buried. There was a member of the ruling religious council in Israel, a wealthy man named Joseph, from Arimathea. He had not consented to the unjust trial which had condemned Jesus to die; in fact, he was a follower of Jesus, in secret.
Joseph went to Pilate, requesting custody of Jesus’ body, which the Roman governor gave to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it for burial, and laid it in his own new tomb, a room which had been hollowed out of the rock, and he rolled a large stone over the entrance. Two of the women who had witnessed the crucifixion now witnessed Jesus’ burial.
The next day, some of the religious leaders went to Pilate, remembering Jesus promise to rise again on the third day. They requested that a guard be set for three days, so that Jesus’ disciples would not steal the body and declare Jesus risen from the dead. So Pilate gave them permission to set their own watch, and secure the grave as best they could.
Joseph of Arimathea is a perfect example of how God, throughout history, has the right person in the right place at the right time. Joseph was a rich man, who obviously had not given away all his wealth to follow Jesus. He was a secret follower of Jesus; some might argue that he lacked the courage to declare his allegiance openly. He was part of the group most hostile to Jesus throughout His ministry.
Yet when God needed a resting place for His Beloved Son, Joseph was there. He had a disciple’s love and respect for Jesus. He had the position to approach Pilate for custody of the body. He had the means to properly care for the body, and a brand new tomb, his own, to lay Jesus in.
This, to me, is one of the exciting aspects of the Gospel. Any person, surrendered to God, can be used by Him. He knows the big picture, and He knows the smallest detail. He has His servants in high political office (like Daniel), and in the lowly stations of servants. Some have wealth that is used for His purposes; some give away everything for Him. Some leave behind their country to serve Him in a faraway place; others serve Him in their own town, or their own household. No person is too unimportant to be of service to God; no station of life is so high or so low that God’s servants cannot be found in it. He is looking for willing hearts, your willing heart; He will show you His will for you, right where you are.