JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple of Jesus, like Nicodemus. All four Gospels speak of Joseph of Arimathea. Jesus was buried in unused grave of Joseph. Herbert Lockyer inAll the Men of the Bible says, the One born in a virgin womb was buried in a virgin tomb (p. 204).

In all four Gospels Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in the context of Jesus burial in almost identical words. Here is Mathews version:When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea arrived; his name was Joseph, and he also was a disciple of Jesus. He went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph. So Joseph took it, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and placed it in his own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away (Mt. 27, 57-60).

Note Mathews words, He (Joseph of Arimathea) went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Luke describes Joseph of Arimathea asa good and honourable man,a member of the council (Sanhedrin). The Jewish Council is the governing body known as Sanhedrin. Obviously as St. Luke indicates, he did not participate in condemning Jesus to death. (Lk..23, 51)

As a good and honourable man Joseph must have felt that Jesus condemnation and crucifixion were unjust. So the secret disciple of Jesus makes a bold move. He goes to Pilate and asks for Jesus body for burial.

The secret disciple who admired Jesus teaching and believed in him as Christ now comes out in the open as a courageous disciples. It was the custom of crucified bodies either to be cast out as refuse or to get them by friends for giving a decent burial.

Jesus body, thanks to Joseph of Arimathea and friends, got a decent burial. Mark notes,Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a linen sheet, took the body down, wrapped it in the sheet and placed it in a tomb which had been dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb (Mk 15, 45-46).

Joseph of Arimathea gave his own grave to Jesus. Mathew tells us, it washis (Josephs) own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock (Mt. 27, 60).

Joseph, a wealthy and devout Israelite, had a garden close to Calvary (the place of Jesus crucifixion). In the garden he had hewn a tomb as his own last resting place. Aided by Nicodemus Joseph placed the body of Jesus in his own tomb.

According to legend Apostle Philip sent Joseph of Arimathea to Britain and he founded the Church of Glastonbury.

Bible scholar Ronald Brownrigg saysthe traditional site of Josephs home town Arimathea is Ramlah, near Lydda, on the costal plain south-west of Jerusalem. According, to the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, Joseph helped to found the first Christian Community at Lydda (Whos Who the New Testament, p.136). (Contact: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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