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Luke 23 (NKJV)
50
Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.
51
He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.
52
This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
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Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.
54
That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

NOTE:
I admire Joseph of Arimathea. Note the following facts about this man from the other Gospels.

1. Matthew 27:57 -- "...there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus."

Joseph of Arimathea had become a disciple of Jesus. No one knows precisely when. I like to think Joseph of Arimathea became a follower of Jesus when he saw his peers -- most of the Jewish leaders -- unjustly try and kill Jesus.

2. Matthew 27 (NKJV)
59
When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
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and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock

Note that Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus' body in his own tomb.

2. Mark 15:43 -- "Joseph of Arimathea...coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus."

The Holy Spirit through Mark shows that Joseph of Arimathea took courage.

I like this for it shows that we can always take courage and chose to act in faith. It is never too late while we live and breath on this earth.


3. John 19:38 -- "...Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews..."

The Holy Spirit through John adds a final note about the humanity of Joseph of Arimathea: He was a secret disciple out of fear of his peers-- the Jewish leaders who had succeeded in killing Jesus.

Joseph did an amazing thing. He chose to overcome his fears and chose to act by doing a simple, yet powerful, act of kindness to Jesus.

After Jesus had been dishonored and humiliated unjustly by his peers, Joseph of Arimathea insisted on honoring Jesus by making sure His body had a proper burial.

This shows that each simple act of kindness-- no matter how small-- done in the Name of Jesus is not simple at all.

Why? Because God in His mercy, infuses these simple acts of kindness done in Jesus' Name with Grace and Power. Thus, God is able to use them to effect change in peoples' lives.

Also, the timing of when Joseph of Arimathea convinces me that he was truly being led of the Spirit of God.

Many of Joseph's peers, the Jewish leaders, hated Jesus enough to kill Him because they wanted to prove once and for all that Jesus was not the Messiah. Yet, Joseph's simple act of courage set the stage for God to show to all of the world that Jesus is, indeed, God's chosen One, not the Messiah.

I remember the "Jesus Seminar" (a so-called search for the historical Jesus which completely discounts the miraculous and the Resurrection).

The "Jesus Seminar" makes the point once a body was taken down from a Roman cross, it was common for no one to claim the body of the dead person because of the dishonor of being crucified as a criminal in shame.

That may be true. The "Jesus Seminar" also makes the claim that it was common for bodies of the dead, taken from a Roman cross, to be eaten by ravenous and wild dogs.

The so-called "Jesus Seminar" then contends that this is probably what happened to the body of Jesus. They claim that is why no one can find the body of Jesus.

Thus (in their minds) this is one piece of historical evidence that shows that Jesus could not have been resurrected.

***
However, Joseph's simple act of kindness clearly disproves the contention of the so-called "Jesus Seminar". Very few men could have been able to freely approach Pilate as could those of the Jewish leaders of Israel-- of which Joseph of Arimathea was one.

He used the authority of his position to go to Pilate and request the body, thus insuring that Jesus' body was kept intact.

Finally, since Joseph of Arimathea was well known to
the Jewish leaders, they also knew where the body of Jesus had been laid.

Again, another nail is hammered into the heart of unbelief in the Resurrection of Jesus, killing unbelief.

For-- if Jesus had truly not risen from the dead --
all the Jewish leaders would have to do would be to produce the body to disprove the claim of the disciples of Jesus that Jesus had risen.

Yet, they could not do that. Why? Because Joseph of Arimathea took courage and made sure that the body of Jesus was properly buried. We know that the Jewish leaders knew where that tomb was for they asked Pilate to guard the tom where Jesus' body was laid.

Well... Satan's scheme to discredit and kill Jesus failed miserably.

THANK YOU, JOSEPH.

I really like and am challenged by these thoughts and questions:

"...can you abandon the false idol you are worshiping as quickly as possible? Particularly if this false idol was born out of something that was initially worshipful. Will you let it go?"

Since the Lord Jesus is demonstrated to be Lord by dying for my sins and rising from the dead, how could I give Him anything less than my all?

Vance

Woops! Sorry for a few MAJOR typographical errors.

God used Joseph of Arimathea to cleary show to the world that Jesus is, indeed, the Messiah -- God's chosen One.

Vance

Woops! Sorry for a few MAJOR typographical errors.

God used Joseph of Arimathea to cleary show to the world that Jesus is, indeed, the Messiah -- God's chosen One.

Vance

I may start a BIG controversy here, but Mike you stated:

>> We read in verse 27 that Gideon made a sacred ephod from the collected gold - so, this does appear worshipful perhaps at first glance. But then verse 27 tells us - "But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family." Yikes! Not exactly what should have happened here... It's interesting. I wonder if we do this in our lives today as well. >>

What happened there has continues to happen and has continued from time immemorial. It is what happens when we make God’s Word, a tradition of men, and act of doing instead of a state of being. Our drive to codify denominations that were never meant to be denominations by the people who we credit as the “father” of … has created followers who hold to the “party” line and tradition greater than what Jesus said and did. Even when we come face to face with the “Truth” of God’s Word, many stick with the denominations’ party line. Somewhat like what we in the U.S. have going with “liberal” and “conservative” labels, they are demonized and the label is used to keep people in their rightful place or to marginalize and/or dismiss them. (Did not mean to go off on that tangent). Truth is Truth even when it doesn’t fit in with our denominational agenda. The ignoring of that Truth to keep the “party line” becomes idolatry no matter the situation, cultural or ethnic tradition.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV)

Joseph of Arimathea had become a disciple of Jesus. No one knows precisely when. I like to think Joseph of Arimathea became a follower of Jesus when he saw his peers -- most of the Jewish leaders -- unjustly try and kill Jesus.

Vance, We as Christians are all Disciples of Christ! Joseph of Arimathea had become a disciple of Jesus by his belief.

dis·ci·ple ( P ) Pronunciation Key (d-spl)
n.

1.)One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.
An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.
often 2.)Disciple - One of the original followers of Jesus.
3.)Disciple - A member of the Disciples of Christ.



I see traditions take the place of God's word literally every day .I personally have nothing against the Greek Orthodox church or any other denominations but when my loved ones only read what the priests write,do only what they say,keep icons representing saints as amulets which they call on for protection,when some of them think that the saints are the key to their salvation and bluntly refuse to believe what I read to them from the bible because it contradicts what their priests say then I have a problem.Yep I become outraged,I know that's not what Christ wants from me and I keep praying I stick to my part bringing the good news and leave judgement to God.
I know I'm going into the deep end here but this subject to me is sensitive.Jesus came and humbled himself,Paul and the rest of the disciple didn't try to exault themselves,they came to serve.There are denominations where the "leaders" are really exaulted...even given names like "most holy" so "holy" that they come up with doctrines that contradict what Jesus had ordained.Now as Christians,followers of Christ,how can you follow some one you don't obey?I posed this question to all my relatives..."I am a christian,I need to follow Jesus so I need to know the rules right from the word of God .Tell me who do you follow in reality as you have no idea what's written in the bible".Please bear with me while I say one last thing.Easter eggs are painted red in monasteries and are eaten after chanting "Christ has risen,in deed He has risen"..these come from the teachings that Mary the mother of Jesus had eggs with her and the blood of Jesus splashed on them.!!!.. When I tell the believers of this that's it's not in the bible they say I am not being faithful to the "righteous faith"!
I think the consequences of what Gideon did was felt by Israel...I see the fruits that tradition has borne her.. they're sad and ugly...
I agree with Vance,not every Christian is a disciple.Not every one who Jesus healed came back to thank Him,not everyone who gets saved follows Christ.Of all the 11 disciples and others that the women told about Christ's ressurection only Peter ran out..followers hmm.May we all christians truly be disciples.
God bless you all

There are disciples, and there are disciples.

Belief IN Him gets you saved, Abiding IN Him leads to a deeper discipleship. We will get to all that in the Gospel of John.

"A Revolution Of Unity"

There is a revolution going on in God’s people. There have been books written about the revolution being God’s people leaving institutional organizations. Some say those in the revolution are moving towards the house church movement or some other new "Wine Skin". The fact that some have moved away from traditional settings is not the focus of this revolution. One new "wine skin" claims they are "The Way," another one thinks they have it figured out, while the older wine skins are saying, "What happened?" Apostolic and prophetic movements, shifts and new model churches may be a trend, but they are not the revolution.

I am here to tell you that methods and wines skins are not the revolution. The real revolution is the Spirit of God speaking wisdom and revelation to the people that are seeking His face. His people are listening and not just settling for church as usual but realizing that there is so much more in walking in obedience to His Way. As He reveals more of Himself, His children are growing up to know who they are in Him, and getting free from religious mindsets in the expression of His Kingdom to every sphere, in every nation.

The Kingdom Of God Is Within Us

We can all look at the old systems and point out the problems, or try and create new systems to avoid the problems, but the Kingdom of God does not dwell in any system, He dwells in us. Success in God is obedience. If you are obedient to the Lord in what He has called you to do, then you will have success that cannot be measured in any humanistic way. It will not be about the numbers. Churches may have millions of dollars and thousands of members, but that can never be a true measurement of success.

I know missionaries in the jungles of India, living off a $400 per year budget, that are highly successful because of their obedience to God. I know of others that may have a television ministry, 3 mansions, and a yacht that are unsuccessful because of their disobedience. They have received the natural world in a big way, but because they pursued those things, the Kingdom of God in their lives has all but disappeared. At the same time, I know some who have incredible wealth in the natural, and yet their heart remains fixed on the Kingdom of God and of His righteousness.

We Must Complete And Not Compete

When our lives have been "Kingdom-ized" by Christ, we begin to realize in a greater way that the Lord operates through unity. Division or disunity opposes the Kingdom, but unfortunately most organizations acknowledging Jesus Christ are isolated from each other. On the other hand, unity in small gatherings and also in a community of gatherings, commands a blessing from the Lord.

Psalms 133 says, "How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the fragrant anointing oil that was poured over Aaron's head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life forevermore."

Just as it is necessary as individuals to not forsake assembling together, it is clear in the Word of God that we should not forsake relating with other leaders in our community. They are part of God’s plan for us in our communities. Being too busy in our own ministries must not be the continued excuse to not pursue key relationships in our city, outside our own gathering. We must not cease in prayer and action towards unity. God’s people are waking up from a long slumber. You would be surprised to see the doors open where they were previously slammed shut.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

John 17:20 says, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Jesus prayed, and he knew what it would take to win the world--UNITY! We need to be one in Him, and we need to be one with each other. There are 30,000 denominations in the world including non-denominational groups, yet there is only one Church, one Bride, one representation of Christ to the world. If we looked at our differences as gifts, rather then reasons to separate, we could take the planet for Christ. It is happening in many communities around the world right now. Leaders have thrown down their distinctions and reached for the only thing needed in commonality with others, Christ Himself.

We Need A Shift In Our Worldview

We need to see all people as created in the image of God, and that He loves them all, and that He wants them all to come to Him as their Father. Alistair Petrie wrote a book called the Sacred Trust. In the book, He looked at the world from an incredible perspective. Rather than throwing stones at systems that may not appeal to each of us, he saw the beauty and strength in different denominations and different people groups and races:

Baptists - Gift of teaching about Salvation

Methodists/Presbyterians/United - Gift of teaching about social issues

Pentecostals - Gift of teaching about the power of God and the Holy Spirit

Nazarenes - Gift of teaching on holiness

Roman Catholics - Gift of teaching on Authority and the (Righteous) fear of God

Anglicans - Gift of teaching the balance of the Word and Liturgy

Mennonites - Gift of teaching on reconciliation

Blacks - Gift of the longsuffering nature of God

Hispanics - Gift of the family of God

Whites - Gift of the aspect in authority

Native Indians - Gift of being spiritual warriors and the work of the Holy Spirit

Muslims - Gift of the fear of the Lord (we need to be willing to give our very lives to the Lord--Muslims love their lives not unto death for their god)

We cannot only link up with those that think the way we do because we will miss the full counsel of God, and we will miss the fullness of God in our lives. If you have left organized churches, first of all, make sure it was the Lord that called you to leave. If you are involved in an organized church, not all that have left your church are "missing it" or [making a mistake]. We need to encourage one another. Realize that the Lord is drawing each of us unto Himself, and we cannot look at the context of others' lives and judge them.

Many walk away from their churches offended when they feel they have outgrown the level of revelation their pastor is teaching. Many leave without even checking with the Father on what He desires. We then judge others that remain in the system and consider them less enlightened than us, while they may be obedient to the Lord’s desire for them. There are many believers called to remain in their churches because God wants them to remain as Kingdom influencers for Him.

God wants His Kingdom to impact every sphere of life, every government, every business, every church, etc. We do not need to understand, but we just need to know this is so. If someone is in an unhealthy church situation, just pray for them, and direct them to Jesus. He will make their paths straight. If we are in Christ, we do not need to be bound by our society. We can influence and change the "Matrix" of society.

We need to see each other the way the Lord sees us. We need to love others the way the Lord loves them. We need to appreciate each other and build relationships that will transform our lives and our communities. The Light will rise up to dispel darkness in the world as we allow Christ to live through us. The world is waiting for us.... Romans 8:18-19 says, "Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are."

They are waiting for us, all of creation! Are you ready to live as sons and daughters of the living God in every phase of your life? As you grow in intimacy with the Lord, watch the transformation take place in your lives. Begin to see the impact you have as a king and as a priest in the context of the life God has chosen for you. Are you ready to join the revolution? We need you! I need you, as I cannot fulfill my part without you.

Let’s battle together for the King & His Kingdom in Jesus name.

CHRIST IS ALL,

Robert Ricciardelli
Visionary Advancement Strategies
www.vision2advance.com
[email protected]

It is quite interesting how different denominations of christianity represent different spectrum of understanding and application of Christian faith.

When I was getting introduced to christianity 5 years back, most of my questions were based on denominational beliefs. Interestingly, christians of one denomination not only didn't know about other denominations but also treated them as rivals or outright antagonists.

I found such boxes of beliefs very debilitating to understand Christianity. Especially, most protestant denominations had very brazen views of Catholicism. I deeply respect Catholics for their concerted and solid moral stands on many ethical/moral issues on international stage. But the protestants I talked to would only concentrate how theologically/ liturgically Catholics are WRONG.

On the other hand, it is also a very interesting study how different christian churches represent different national or patriotic flavours: Greek Orthodox in Greece, Russian Orthodox in Russia, Catholic church in Poland, Ireland, Latin Ametica; Anglicans in UK, New Zealand, Australia. And so on...

I think it's the beauty of the spectrum of Christianity how it represents different aspects of Christian message and accomodates different cultures, races. But as for me... I cannot entertain the notion of bearing the tags of any denomination or 'Liberal', 'Mainline', 'Conservative', 'Fundamentalist'. I truly believe in individual soul liberty.

Unity of Christian message with Christ as it's centre figure should be maintained. Ecumenism's main focus ought to be respect for diverse traditions rather than yoking them together. God is much bigger than our notions or traditions.

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