The Burial: A Final Act of Love

Scripture: Mark 15:42-47

In Mark 15:42-47, Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish council, asks Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body and give him a proper burial. In doing so he shows a final act of love and respect toward Jesus.

This act of love by Joseph would have been costly for him, most likely resulting in him losing his position and influence in the community. However, he chose to prioritise the honouring of Jesus, recognising His significance, and giving Him a dignified burial over his own reputation.

In our own lives we show love and respect to others in a wide variety of ways, some large acts of love like a wedding ceremony to small everyday actions like writing someone a text to show we are thinking of them. It could be taking the time to listen or offering a kind word to someone struggling. It could mean forgiving someone that has hurt us or being compassionate towards those who are often overlooked.

Those who work in hospice, aged, or palliative care are great examples of people providing comfort and support to people who are at the end of their lives. They offer compassion and dignity to patients and their families, helping them to navigate difficult times with grace and love. In so doing they are imitating that which Joseph does here for Jesus’ body, recognising the need for dignity and honour, and in turn bringing glory to God.

Furthermore, alongside being a costly exercise for Joseph it also highlights the risk he took in honouring Jesus. Mark’s description of Joseph in verse 43 highlights his spiritual perspective as he waited for the Kingdom of God to come, indicating that he recognized there was more to life than just the present one.

Joseph’s status as a “secret disciple of Jesus” (John 19:38) was also noted by Matthew, who referred to him as someone “who had become a follower of Jesus” (Matthew 27:57). While Joseph had previously kept his faith quiet, this risk he was taking would bring it from private to public.

As a follower of Jesus it is possible to keep your faith private for a period of time, but eventually God may call you to go public with it. This can be risky, but it is a necessary step in our growth as believers. In so doing it helps us own our faith for ourselves, deepens our reliance on God, and encourages the faith of others around us. For Joseph he got to care for his Saviour in a personal way and was blessed in being part of honouring Jesus in His death.

I wonder, is there a step of faith, a possibly costly or risky step, that God is calling you to take this Easter?

This is a devotional series I’ve written for my church for Easter Week 2023. It follows the Passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark. This is day 7 of 8.

If you’d like them to hit your inbox each morning then please subscribe here.

Author: Jon

This is me.

Join the Conversation:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: