He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

The Bible is quite an amazing book. This passage is one of the most loved prophecies about the death of our Lord. These words, written 700 years before Christ was born, are stunning in their incredibly precise detail, even including the burial of Christ in a rich man’s grave. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, a powerful leader in the nation of Israel. He had become a secret follower of Jesus, but the time had come for him to step forward. When Jesus had breathed His last, Joseph mustered up his courage and went to Pilate to ask for the body. Not everyone could get an instant audience with Pilate, Joseph must have been quite an influential man. These two actions, going to Pilate and giving his tomb to Jesus, were two great steps of faith. The first required courage, to face the man with the power of life and death in Israel. His second act, to give away his tomb, was an act of faith and generosity. Mark said that Joseph was a man, “waiting for the kingdom of God”. When this moment came, he gave this gift, a gift worth thousands of dollars (someone recently priced a cemetery plot at 38,000 thousand dollars). He was giving this gift in the hope of the resurrection. Actually all of us who are waiting for the kingdom of God give our gifts in anticipation of the resurrection. We have decided to live for the world to come, not for this temporary world that most people embrace. Those living for this world never think about resurrection or new life, those who have experienced it can think of little else.
What can we learn from this rich man’s offering? He purchased a place for dead things to come alive. That is what the church is all about. Many people today criticize the local church, I love His church. The church, like Joseph’s tomb is the place of resurrection. It is the place where dead things, actually dead people come alive. If you are waiting for the kingdom, like Joseph, make sure you take the advice of that rich man. Invest your time, talents, and finances in the only place in this life that experiences that resurrection life. When you look at the local church, at first glance it may not look like much, tombs are not very impressive. But take a second look, this might be the place where you experience life from the dead.

2 Replies to “RICH MAN’S GRAVE”

  1. Following Christ seems to always put one in a position of making a decision to do an act of faith. For Joseph this was a huge step. As a member of the Sanhedrin, he was putting everything he had gained in this world at stake. The Sanhedrin is likened to the Supreme Court of today in the power they wielded.
    This ruling body was comprised of members from the various religious parties subordinate to them. The most influential of these groups where the Sadducees. Several interesting facts: the Sadducee’ beliefs were the furthest from the teachings of Christ in that they strictly followed Mosaic Law and did not believe in the resurrection. The other fact is that the Sadducees were representative of the upper class, the very wealthy of that time. Not the group you want to be opposing.
    So, Joseph places the dead body of Christ in his tomb. WOW! How do you think that went over with his buds at work? I am guessing his name was being dropped from the invite list to the uppity up social events and his friends were whispering and pointing when he was around. Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse, Jesus goes and resurrects. Of course at this point I think Joseph didn’t care about what his old friends at work or in his social groups thought anymore. He knew the Truth. (John 14:6)
    I wonder if Joseph knew he was the rich man Isaiah wrote about 700 years prior.
    I can’t help but wonder if Joseph realized what an awesome deal he was making. He placed his faith in Christ, acted on that by laying Christ in his tomb, in doing so he sacrificed his social position, employment and potentially his life; for life eternal in Christ Jesus.
    This reminds me of someone who said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Strange affect the Truth has on how one thinks.

  2. Thank you for opening my eyes to see more of Gods glory by what Joseph did and what the great prophet Isiaih wrote, we are incredibly blessed to be encouraged by you today Frank, and above all by the Lord our God Jesus Christ whose word lives on from generation to generation.

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