Better Late Than Never
And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. ~John 19:38
The Bible records for us three Josephs. There is Joseph, the son of Jacob who rose to prominence as the man who helped save Egypt from a seven-year famine. There is Joseph, the husband of Mary who was privileged to have Jesus raised in his home. There is Joseph of Arimathea, who is the subject of this morning’s devotion. Joseph of Arimathea is recorded in all four gospels as the rich man who gave his never-before-used tomb to Jesus for His burial place. This Joseph is a man who underscores the idea of “better late than never.”
We see Joseph, the disciple.
The first thing we see about Joseph is his affiliation to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is described as a disciple. A disciple is someone who follows the life and teachings of another person. He devotes himself to being a representation of the one that he follows. Joseph was a successful disciple: he was a rich man and well-to-do. Being rich in itself is not evil, unless the sole goal of that man is to build his own empire and kingdom to the exclusion of God. Joseph was a secret disciple. He was a member of the Sanhedrin and was careful not to disclose to his colleagues that he was a follower of Jesus. Joseph was a spiritual disciple. He was called a good man and just. He was a man of faith and not a man of feelings. He obeyed God’s Word and sought to do right for the Lord.
We see Joseph and his desire.
Joseph went in boldly to request the body of Jesus. He watched from a distance the horror of that crucifixion. He probably was devastated that he kept his association to Jesus a secret. By requesting the body of Jesus for burial, he was taking a strong stand about his identification with Jesus. He regretted that he did not take a public stand earlier. So, he made the most of the situation at hand by requesting custody for the burial of the body of Jesus. He let it be known from that point forward that he would be responsible for Jesus’ body, and that he was not ashamed of letting everyone know that he loved Jesus.
We see Joseph and his donation.
He bought fine linen to wrap the body of Jesus in, and then gave his own tomb for the burial of Jesus. He gave something that was costly. He gave something was never used before. He gave sacrificially. He gave an expensive piece of real estate to be the burial location for our Lord’s body. Joseph regretted that he did not do more before the crucifixion, and decided to give his tomb for the proper burial for the body of Jesus. He gave without restraint. He gave without coercion. He gave without pretense. The spirit by which he gave and the size of the donation itself testifies to a disciple that wanted the Lord to know that he loved Him and wanted to do his best even though it was after Jesus died.
We see Joseph and his demonstration.
Joseph’s sacrifice is a valuable lesson that it is sometimes better late than never. He did not consider his donation a lost cause. After Jesus rose from the dead and walked out of that tomb alive, you might wonder if there were other secret disciples that were upset that they did not have enough faith to give their unused tombs to Jesus. It is better to do your best now than to never do anything. It is better to give God something now than to give nothing. It is better to start telling people about Jesus now than to never say anything. It is better to repent of being a nominal Christian and start living for God now than to never do so. Yes, when it comes to doing the right thing for the Lord, it is better to do something now than to never do it.
Have an emboldened God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Kings 20-22