Jesus had breathed his last and someone had to arrange for his burial. All the disciples but John were in hiding. His mother was grieving and there’s no evidence Jesus’ brothers and sisters were in town. The Roman law did not permit burying criminals accused of treason either and no-one dared to violate the Roman law.
This is when Joseph of Arimathea came forward and sought permission from the Roman governor to arrange for Jesus’ burial. Apart from Joseph there were 5 others involved in this account of Jesus’ burial. As I read this passage I found three challenges in each one’s response to the need of the hour.
Text: Mark 15:42-47
1. Joseph and Nicodemus
A. The decision makers. They were Jesus’ secret followers. Following his death they decided to blow their cover and publicly express their loyalty for Christ.
B. They faced great danger in doing so. Others could have accused them of treason and put them also to death.
C. This Good Friday I am challenging you to decide whether you want to be Jesus’ disciple or a disciple of this world.
2. Pilate the governor
A. Pilate was ignorant of the depth of Jesus’ suffering. This is why he was surprised to hear that Jesus died so soon.
B. Usually crucified criminals died very slowly. Jesus however had been through severe flogging, lost blood and exhausted.
C. This Good Friday I am challenging you to seriously rethink about Christ’s sufferings and commit/recommit to follow him whole heartedly.
3. The three Marys (Maries)
A. They were faithful to ministry even at the face of crisis and persecution. Fear could not hold back their passion for service.
B. The opposite was true about the 11 that was left. Overwhelmed with fear and discouragement they had stopped ministering and gone into hiding.
C. This is the final challenge. Serve the Lord faithfully and don’t let situations to stop you.
1. Dare to be a disciple
(Read Luke 9:23 – explain in the light of decision making)
A. Self denial: Sacrificing one’s wealth, fame, comfort in obedience to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
B. Carrying the cross: Disciples are subject to persecution. Nevertheless they must stand firm to the end and not give into pressure.
C. Follow Jesus every day: Discipleship is a painful, lifelong, daily process. Only the people whose focus are fixed on Jesus can finish the race, (Philippians 3:13-14)
2. Commit your life to Jesus
(Ephesians 4:18 – explain in the light of ignorance)
A. If you are a Christian don’t compromise in your walk with Jesus. If you compromise you are ignorant of the price Christ paid to set you free.
B. Some of you who have experienced Christ’s power are still not willing to surrender your life to Jesus. Make that commitment today.
C. People ignorant of Christ’s sacrifice risk their salvation. They are in danger of condemnation.
3. Serve him gladly
(Psalm 100:2 – explain in the light of faithfulness in ministry)
A. Our love for Christ is best expressed in our deeds. You will serve him if your love is real.
B. Our service to Christ completes the impact of his suffering and death, (Romans 10:14)
C. God’s word urges us to serve him gladly. Don’t let sickness and problems discourage you, (Isaiah 53:4-5)