"Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.” Mark 15:43
Joseph of Arimathea found himself in a dilemma. He had heard the loving and truth-filled words of Jesus, and had seen His miracles. He then watched members of his own council get caught up in murderous envy, condemning Jesus to death through lies and false accusations. The innocent was then tortured, dying unjustly at the hands of the same group of which he was a part. Joseph’s heart must have broken as he helplessly saw hate run it’s course.
As the lifeless body of Jesus hung on the tree alone, Joseph knew that now was His time to act. At great risk to his position and even his own life, Joseph reached out and gathered courage, putting it on like a man preparing for battle dons his breastplate. He put on courage and asked Pilot for the pierced body of Jesus. He then took Jesus down from the cross and placed Him in the brand new tomb that he had paid to house his own body in the future. He gave Jesus his own resting place.
Years earlier, the courage of another Joseph, Jesus’ step-father, had led him to act also. Facing the stigma of being with a woman who was pregnant with a child that wasn’t his, he set aside his own personal reputation, married her and then led her to Bethlehem to be counted as a part of his family. The courage of Joseph gave protection for a pregnant woman, leading to the Savior of the world being born in Bethlehem. The courage of Joseph of Arimethea provided this same Savior a grave from which He was resurrected to life.
Courage isn’t something we are born with, it’s something that’s gathered. Courage is a choice, an act of our will to do the right thing at the crucial time. Life follows. At some personal risk, perhaps looking foolish or even great danger, courage is the action that an ordinary person makes to step forward and do justice for someone else.
You and I are offered many opportunities to gather courage during our lifetimes. When we see injustice, it’s our opportunity to act. It’s our opportunity to stand up for kids who are mistreated, for wives who are abused. It’s our opportunity to speak up for those without a voice, or for those who are being killed or enslaved around the world. When we seize the opportunities that are presented and gather courage to act on behalf of someone else, life is released and place is prepared for the Savior to enter or resurrect things that have been harmed or damaged.
- Matt Peterson