What Jesus Did! 'With God, Anything Is Possible!' — Matthew 27:57-61

Thursday, December 23, 2021

As evening approached [after Jesus' crucifixion], Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
— Matthew 27:57-61 NLT

Key Thought

This camel found a way! Or better yet, God found a way for this camel to get through the eye of a needle! (cf. Matthew 19:24)

We normally don't think of many of the followers of Jesus as rich. There surely weren't many who were rich; at least, there weren't many who were openly his followers. But a few were. Not only was Joseph rich; he also had access to the Roman governor. But, what is amazing here is that Joseph picks the absolutely worst time to show his allegiance to Jesus! Joseph is identifying himself with one who was now viewed as the scum of the earth, a man apparently cursed by God, a supposed criminal executed by Rome, and a Jew condemned to death by the religious ruling council and the high priest. There is nothing to gain by his identifying himself with Jesus, at least nothing apparent. But that didn't stop Joseph! He was a follower, and he was willing to follow Jesus all the way through the cross. He was willing to become unclean for Passover by handling the dead body of Jesus. Joseph did for Jesus what was decent, loving, tender, and right. And he did it when there appeared to be nothing to gain in doing so.

I don't know about you, but I want to be like Joseph. While there is so much talk about the apostles — their power and their authority, Joseph did what none of them did, and what none of them had the financial resources to do. I'd surely like to believe that I would do the same!

Today's Prayer

O Precious God, Mighty Father, and Faithful Lord, thank you for examples of faith that not everyone holds up as heroes. They become for us discoveries of joy in the middle of history's greatest but saddest story. Father, I really want to be like Joseph. I want to be faithful when no one else is. I want to be useful when no one else can be. I want to be tender when it is needed most. Through your Spirit, please make me a follower for all seasons. In Jesus' precious name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 19:38-42
  • Luke 9:23-26
  • Revelation 2:10


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Illustration of Matthew 27:57-61 NLT —  Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.