Joseph of Arimathaea

4 09 2009

 

(I wrote this as a one man skit.  I dressed up in a  costume and performed it at a nursing home and at a Passover Lord’s Supper service at the church.  Enjoy!)

      My name is Joseph, from a town called Arimathaea (Northwest of the Holy City).  I spent most of my time in Jerusalem because I am a member of the Sanhedrin, a Jewish Supreme Court consisting of 70 persons.  I have come to give you the inside story that few have ever heard about Jesus of Nazareth.

      When I first heard of the claims of Jesus, I had to find out more.  My friend and fellow council member, Nicodemus, went to Him one night.  Jesus told him about being born again, about Moses lifting up the Brazen Serpent in the wilderness.  His sayings were hard to understand, but we both knew that this Man was the Messiah, whose Kingdom we were both awaiting.  We became secret followers, vowing to “go public” as soon as He established His Kingdom.  We heard His speeches, saw His miracles, and admired His character.  Others in the Sanhedrin criticized Him, but we were silent.

      One night we were both summoned to a late night council meeting.  We never have council meetings that late, but we were told that an important matter had arisen that demanded our immediate attention.  When we arrived, Jesus was standing in the midst of the council, with His hands bound and such a look of confidence and peace on His face that it angered the others.  They kept trying to find a cause to accuse Him; but could not and their injured pride knew that this Man was guilty of something!  The High Priest drummed up some false witnesses, accusing Him of blasphemy.  When a vote was taken, all were in unison of condemning Him to die, except Nicodemus and I.  What should we do?  To object would identify us as believers, but to consent would send our Messiah to a certain death.  We cast our vote with the others, knowing that Jehovah could deliver this Man, even as He had delivered Isaac from Abraham’s knife.  It cost so much to be a follower of this Man, and we didn’t think we were ready yet!

      I tried to sleep that night, but I couldn’t.  I kept hearing voices and cries of anger, echoing through the night.  I got up and went to Pilate’s Judgment Hall in time to hear that mob cry out, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”.  He just stood there, with blood staining the cloak that He wore.  Pilate had ordered a severe beating in order to pacify the crowd.  Now Pilate was washing his hands, and as the sun was rising over the Judean hill, Jesus was led away to be crucified.

      I know why the council and the High Priest were angry.  This Man was not a traditionalist.  He made them entertain the thought that it was not outward acts of religion that really mattered, but their relationship with God.

      It was the time of the Passover and it started that evening at 6 PM.  They had no business setting about with such intensity to crucify this Man.  They should be selecting the lamb that they would slay and preparing for the greatest day of the Jewish calender.

      The sun was getting hot when another was forced to carry His cross.  I did not see much then, I had to keep my distance, lest I be considered one of His sympathizers.  He was lead away to the place of the skull, and I can still hear then pounding of the hammer as Roman soldiers drove nails into His hands and feet.  Rope was used to secure His body, lest it rip loose from the cross before death occurred.  It was around 9 AM when the cross was erected.  I can still see Him in my mind.  Never had there been such a cruel death to such an innocent Man!  Where was Jehovah?  Why did He not deliver His Messiah so that the Kingdom could be established?  Just then, Nicodemus came to stand beside me.  He quoted the words of the Master that he heard Him say that night he approached Him.  “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.  That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Then we understood.  His death had to be!  As the Passover Lamb delivered the firstborn sons from the death angel, so also will the blood of this Passover Lamb deliver us from the eternal consequences of our sins!

      We helplessly watched as the Roman Soldiers gambled over His garment.  We heard the venomous cursing of the thief to His left.  We knew the hot Judean sun was drying up all of His bodily fluids.  Then, the sun was blackened!  It looked like midnight, and it was noon!  Not only that, but I felt a tension; I can’t describe, it except that it felt like a battle was going on and that Nicodemus and I were in the middle of it!  “Nicodemus,” I said, “We have got to go public about our faith in Him, He is not just our Messiah, He is our Passover Lamb!”  We decided that I would approach Pilate about burying the body and that Nicodemus would secure spices for embalming.  Without such a burial, He would be thrown into Kidron Valley, and  quickly buried with all the other criminals.  With my credentials with the Sanhedrin and with our money that Jehovah has blessed us with, we knew that it was God’s will to proceed with the plan.  He was worthy of any consequences that we should suffer.  Since I did not tell Him, “I love You” in His life, at least I could say it in His death.  I would give Him a new tomb in a garden right outside the city.  Then it struck me, sin came in a garden (Eden), and now the Sin Bearer will be buried in a garden.

      It was a grim task.  The soldiers took His body down and took the nails.  That is when I came forward with the order from Pilate.  As I placed His limp body into the linens that I had secured, I noticed that it was still hot from the fever He must have suffered.  Blood soaked the linens and then onto my hands.  As it touched me, I felt clean, cleaner that I ever felt before.

      Mary, His mother said, “Thank you,” through her tears and asked for my name.  When I told her, she marveled to think that Jesus had a Joseph at His birth and also at His death.  She noticed the myrrh in Nicodemus’ hand and remembered it’s presence when the Magi came to see Him.  John took Mary home.  Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses followed us.  It’s ironic, the ones who followed Him closely in His life fled; and the ones who followed Him in secret went public.  At the tomb we had to work fast because the Passover Sabbath was approaching.  The women helped us to soak the strips of linen in the spices so that we could wrap them around the limbs and body of Jesus.  The sweet smell of myrrh contrasted the ugliness of death.  Then it came to me, myrrh had to be crushed in order to dispel its lovely aroma.

      We taped up the hands that so often blessed little children.  We taped the feet of Him that announced a message of good news to all who would listen.  Finally, the job was done and none too soon since the sun was setting and the Passover beginning.  The Passover held new meaning to me as the lamb was sacrificed and his flesh roasted.

      The story doesn’t end there.  Death could not keep my Messiah.  The 100 pounds of spices, which had hardened into a mummy like shell, could not hold His body in that grave.  After 3 days, His body rose right out of that shell, leaving it hollow.  The blood that once stained those linens was gone, taken up to sprinkle on the Heavenly Mercy Seat.

      My name is Joseph of Arimathaea. My testimony mocks those who say that Jesus was “just a good Man in history”.  If He was just that, He would have stayed in the grave like all other good men.  But He arose, proving His power over death and His victory over our sin!  Some say that he never died to begin with and that the damp tomb would have revived his body.  That is ridiculous!  The spices themselves would have been enough to poison even a healthy body!  My testimony mocks those who say that there is no resurrection.  My tomb in which Jesus was laid, is the place where theology and history intersect.  No one can ever disprove the fact of the resurrection!  My testimony shames those who try to go to Heaven any other way than the shed Blood of the Passover Lamb, Jesus.

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2 responses

16 09 2009
Betty Simcox

WOW !!! Is there no end to the talent’s God has given you ?
I’ve never read anything quit like this of the Death Burial &
Ressurection of our Lord !
Thank you.

16 09 2009
Betty Simcox

I couldn’t agreee with you more.

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