welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Friday, April 22, 2011

What happened after the cross - and why Joe from Arimathea is my HERO

Not my own writing today - but a great piece from the website truthortradition, credit at the end.

Now I know why God had me resting Mon night and Tuesday - a crazy GOOD day of Holy Spirit led ministering today.  WHEW! And a funeral this am followed by gourmet shop fun and busyness leading up to my Easter celebrations.

So I will let you read this great article that pieces together all four gospels and some of the prophecies that have to do with the Garden Tomb and the STONG FAITH AND OBEDIENCE OF one JOSEPH FROM ARIMATHEA!  read on....

Matthew 27:57-61
(57) As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.
(58) Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.
(59) Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
(60) and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
(61) Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
Jesus died at what would be 3 p.m. our time, and the Passover (a special Sabbath [John 19:31], not the weekly Sabbath would begin at sunset. Joseph knew that he had to act quickly, and John 19:38 tells us that he went to Pilate “secretly for fear of the Jews.” Given what Scripture says about Joseph, this does not mean that he was a fearful man. Rather, it is saying that he was prudent.

Luke 23:50 and 51 says that Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Judaism, and that he had not voted for the execution of Jesus. Perhaps he was the lone dissenter. In any case, the council must have known of his allegiance to Jesus, and, given their propensity for evil, he knew that they would stop at nothing to eradicate the memory of this man who had so threatened their evil empire. Therefore, Joseph acted wisely, and went to Pilate without their knowledge. He also knew that Jesus was a public figure over which there was much dispute, and since there was little time to get Jesus into the grave before sunset, he did not want there to be a public debate over what to do with the body.

In Matthew 27:58, the word “asked” means to boldly implore (the KJV reads “begged”). Joseph’s going to Pilate and persuading him to give him Jesus’ body was no small feat. As a Jew, entering the court of a Gentile like Pilate would have made Joseph ceremonially unclean to eat the Passover the next day, and touching the dead body of Jesus would compound his uncleanness. What a testimony to how much Joseph loved Jesus and how focused he was on seeing the truth of God’s Word come to pass, even at the expense of his being able to celebrate the most sacred of Jewish holidays. Perhaps Joseph recognized that Jesus was the true Passover LAMB that year.

Jerusalem was about 25 miles from Joseph’s hometown of Arimathea, so why would he have had a tomb cut out of the rock there, and why was it so close to Golgotha?

Isaiah 53:9a (NIV)
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death...

Once again, we assert it was because Joseph believed that Jesus was the Messiah, knew that he must be buried “with the rich,” and fully expected him to rise from the dead after 72 hours.

As we will see, it was this act of faith that made possible the witness of the empty tomb in a prominent place where everyone would know about it. Criminals and the indigent were not given much of a burial, if any, and usually in a place provided by society or government for that purpose, because such burial grounds were unclean.

Had Jesus been buried “with the wicked” in an obscure place, no witness that he had actually been raised from the dead would have been possible then or throughout history.

Properly understood, Matthew 27:59 confirms the fact that Joseph did not expect Jesus to be in the grave permanently. It says that he took Jesus’ body and “wrapped it in a clean linen cloth.” The Greek word for “wrapped” means that Joseph “rolled up” the body, and the word for “cloth” is sindon (like a sheet), a different word than that used of the traditional burial wrappings that were strips of cloth wound around the body after it had been covered with ointments and spices.

It is significant that verse 61 says that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there watching what Joseph did. They saw that Joseph did not bury Jesus according to custom.

John 19:31 specifically says that the day after Jesus’ crucifixion was “a special Sabbath,” that is, not the weekly Jewish Sabbath, which fell on what we call Saturday. Putting together Scripture with the calendars available today, we see that in the year Jesus died, the Passover was on a Thursday. Jesus died at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and rose from the dead on Saturday between 3 p.m. and sunset. This had to be because according to the Jewish reckoning of time, the next day, the fourth day, started at sunset, and Scripture said he would rise “the third day.” Thus, when the women returned to the tomb before sunrise on Sunday, he was not there —“He is risen!” (Note that the angel did not say to them, “You just missed him!”).

A study of all the verses related to this subject shows that the women saw that Joseph did not embalm Jesus (on Wednesday), so they went home to prepare the proper spices to do so, which they could not do on Thursday (the High Sabbath) or Saturday (the weekly Sabbath). They believed that Jesus should have a proper burial, but the Sanhedrin had made sure that the tomb was sealed and guarded for three days (Matt. 27:63-66). That meant that the earliest they could get into the tomb was Sunday morning. As would be expected given their close relationships with Jesus, they were there as early as possible.

Late Wednesday afternoon (the day of preparation for the Passover), when Joseph and the women had left the tomb, Nicodemus entered the picture, and what he did is recorded only in the gospel of John.

In John 19:38 and 39, the NIV blurs the fact that Nicodemus (the same man in John 3 and 7) came to the grave later—after Joseph had left. As a man of means, he would have had plenty of help to do what verse 40 says “they” did—“wound the body in linen clothes with spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury” (KJV).

The Greek word for “clothes” is othonion, which means “grave wrappings or bandages.” Therefore, “they” could not be Joseph and Nicodemus, because we already know that Joseph simply wrapped the body in a sheet (sindon). It is also noteworthy that the women saw Joseph but not Nicodemus. The women watched Joseph, saw that he had not given Jesus a “proper burial” and went off to buy the spices to do it themselves. Then, after Joseph and the women had gone, Nicodemus and his helpers came (you would want helpers if you were carrying 75 pounds of spices and a bunch of cloth) and they gave Jesus a more formal burial, but one that did not anticipate his resurrection.

What Nicodemus did is why, when Peter and another disciple ran to the tomb, they saw the othonion (John 20:5), the mummy-like linen grave wrappings that had been around Jesus but were then empty. Nicodemus also loved Jesus very much, and in order to honor him with a proper burial he was willing to make himself unclean for the Passover by touching Jesus’ dead body, but he apparently did not believe Jesus would rise from the dead, as evidenced by his embalming his body. Although Joseph did not anoint Jesus’ body according to custom, it was he who most honored him by believing his words that he would rise from the dead.

Let us summarize the sequence of events. On Wednesday afternoon, as soon as Jesus was dead, Joseph went quickly to Pilate, persuaded him to give him the body, took it to the nearby tomb he had had cut in a rock, wrapped it in a sheet and rolled the stone in front of the opening. The women, who dearly loved Jesus, saw what he did and went home to prepare the spices for a proper burial. Shortly after they left, Nicodemus came and prepared the body according to the Jewish burial custom. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday passed, and early Sunday the women returned to the tomb, only to find the empty tomb—Jesus had risen from the dead.

The heroism of Joseph of Arimathea in the burial of Jesus stands out vividly in His-story. Quite a number of other people did come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but when Jesus died they were caught off guard and confused. Since childhood, their Jewish culture had taught them that the Messiah would live forever (John 12:34). They expected him to get an army together, conquer their Roman oppressors, oust the Pharisees and Sadducees, and rule the world. When Jesus died on the cross, they did not know what to do, and many were scattered. In contrast, Joseph believed that Jesus would rise from the dead, and as we have seen, acted accordingly, burying him “with the rich.”

Suppose that Joseph of Arimathea had not stepped up and followed God’s leading based upon the prophecies in His Word? Suppose that Jesus’ body had been buried in the ground in an obscure and unclean area? Would that have stopped God from raising him from the dead? Absolutely not.

But it would have negated the reverberating witness of the empty tomb!!!

And that is why Joseph of Arimathea is a true hero.

One man, a man with strengths and weaknesses like all men, a man whose heart was no doubt pounding like a piston as he approached Pilate’s palace, but a man who kept going because he loved Jesus and believed that he was who he said he was. One man who was prepared for both the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. One man who stayed when even the disciples closest to Jesus had fled.

One man who believed the Word of God, having no idea of the centuries-long ramifications of his obedience.

Joseph was the only Joseph God had. What about you? You are the only you God has.

You too can believe the written Word of God and act accordingly.

Who knows where the resurrected Lord Jesus will lead you in your walk with him? Who knows the everlasting impact of your following him day by day into whatever situations he knows you can handle with his help?

The witness of the empty tomb still beckons to you—Jesus is alive, and he wants to live his life in you as you live for him. What else is there to do?

ARE YOU PRAYING FOR____________________? I am praying for all who read this - to examine GODS WORD AND OUR HEARTS DURING THE TIME OF REMEMBRANCE for the darkest days of history.....Don't worry - the LIGHT IS RETURNING!

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