Mark 15: 38 – 47
And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.
And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome.
When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.
Jesus Is Buried
When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 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.
Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead.
And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.
Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.
Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
Here very simply stated we find the constant challenge of life, which could have a deep impact upon the way we live. This man lived as part of the existing, historic, established system and yet he had something deeper within him that brought him out !
“…He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God…”
These are the internal conditions that the Kingdom of God seeks out within us as we give ourselves to the growing, working yeast like, seed which although we do not understand, grows within:-
On the lookout for the Kingdom of God
These are two attitudes we should always find in a person, once the Kingdom has taken root. There will always be that cry from within, when will it be? This is always in the heart, as the King fills the heart with eminent passion.
Could this be a key to finding, identifying and knowing fellow Kingdom travellers? This age has struck within us a die pattern that we cannot ignore.
On the lookout for the Kingdom of God
What a way to live life, why not try it, “live expectantly”, truthfully there is no other way to live. Having cultivated an attitude that is expectant, so we can live with expectancy. This is a different kind of life, living with an expectancy, waiting for the next moment that pulsates with life in you, with anticipation in your breath, each action and movement saturated with expectancy. Expectancy can have a tendency to disappoint, especially if we live with set expectations, however living with an attitude of expectancy with no set pattern in mind, that is the way to live fully.
Can I encourage you to try it “Live expectantly and look out”, with an expectation that focuses you outward, watching and waiting.
We should nurture our expectancy as a Child with the “…have we arrived yet…” attitude, seeking to develop and cultivate our anticipation of the kingdom, through encouragement and work. We consistently work towards this cultivation through our choices, choices of listening, seeing, looking,and being focused only on the Kingdom.
We recognise and anticipate the imminence of the coming kingdom upon this world in its fullness
I suggest that if we do not cultivate this Kingdom seed within we will be given to everything else, chasing after things that only offer immediate gratification.
Expositors tell us that Joseph was not a councillor of the provincial town of Arimathea, which would have been mentioned, but a member of the grand council of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin.
He, in company with these devout women, was expectant of the Kingdom of God. The same authority says of the word “boldly”, “a graphic word, in Mark, only, giving a vivid idea of the situation.
A councillor of honourable estate. A senator or member of the Sanhedrin of high standing, rich.
Looking for the Kingdom of God The very same words are used in Luke 23:51 by Luke of Simeon and Anna (2:25, 38). These two also looked for the Kingdom.
Joseph had evidently taken no public stand for Jesus before now.
Boldly, becoming bold. It is the glory of Joseph and Nicodemus, secret disciples of Jesus, that they took a bold stand when the rest were in terror and dismay. That is love psychology, paradoxical as it may seem.
Joseph of Arimathea.
We know nothing of this man’s former history. We do not know how he had learned to love Christ, and to desire to do him honor.
We know nothing of his subsequent history after our Lord left the world.
We are told that he “was himself waiting for the kingdom of God,” and that at a time when our Lord’s disciples had all deserted him he “went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body” (verse 43), and buried it honorably in his own tomb. Others had honored and confessed our Lord when they saw him working miracles, but Joseph honored him and confessed himself a disciple, when he saw him a cold, blood-sprinkled corpse. Others had shown love to Jesus while he was speaking and living, but Joseph showed love when he was silent and dead.
Let us take comfort in the thought that there are true Christians on earth of whom we know nothing, and in places where we should not expect to find them.
No doubt the faithful are always few.
But we must not hastily conclude that there is no grace in a family or in a parish because our eyes do not see it. We know in part and see only in part, outside the circle in which our own lot is cast.
The Lord has many “hidden ones” in the church who, unless brought forward by special circumstances, will never be known till the last day.
The words of God to Elijah should not be forgotten, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel” (1 Kings 19:18).1
What will bring you forward?
“Of Arimathea” designates Joseph’s birthplace, a city of unknown location.
He was a member of the Council, another name for the Sanhedrin. In fact he was a “prominent” member. Mark here uses a term often found in ancient inscriptions honoring some individual.
The observation that he was “waiting for the kingdom of God” along with his willingness to go “boldly” before Pilate to ask for the body indicates that he had a serious level of interest in Jesus.
The NI leaves out the word “also” in “who was also himself waiting for the kingdom of God”
Like the women of v. 40–41, Joseph was “also” waiting for the kingdom. (The other Gospels indicate that Joseph was a secret disciple: Matt 27:57; Luke 23:50–51; John 19:38).
His need for “boldness” may refer both to possible recrimination from his fellows in the Sanhedrin and from Pilate. The Sanhedrin members would consider his sentiments heresy. Pilate might consider them seditious.
Waiting for the Kingdom brings a need for boldness, having to stand, on occasions it also brings confrontation. It brings us out and puts us into places that we , causing us to put on boldness. A boldness that has its root in the Kingdom of God.
Are you waiting expectantly, for the Kingdom, watching eagerly and putting on boldness to proclaim it?
On the lookout for the Kingdom of God