Lets first read the following verses as we reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ and how he brought change in Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus by his death. Here we go:
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Joseph of Arimathaea is not heard of in most part of the Gospels except just after the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Who was this man and what did he have to with Jesus? Also what does Nicodemus have to do in all this?
From what we read in the Gospels (Matthew 27:57–60; Mark 15:42–46; Luke 23:50–53; and John 19:38–42) it’s known that he was a disciple of Jesus Christ. However he followed Jesus secretly as he feared the Jews. He was actually a part of the Sanhedrin which was the council of Jewish religious leaders who strived for Jesus’ crucifixion. However, the Gospel says that Joseph of Arimathaea did not give his consent but rather opposed their decision. That makes him a good man doesn’t it. Besides he was rich. God made him wealthy for a purpose that only few can ever receive from the Lord God. He took a personal risk of life and of reputation when he went to Pilate to receive the dead body of the One True Savior of the World who is none other than Jesus Christ. And by his wealth he could arrange for Jesus to be laid in a tomb (sepulchre). When Jesus was born he was born in manger as there was no place available for him. But at his death this one man from Arimathaea did all he could so that the Savior could be given some dignity after his death. Joseph of Arimathaea did not care for his life anymore as he knew he had to honor the Son of God the giver of eternal life more than anything.
Now to speak about Nicodemus. This man due to his short height had to first meet Jesus by climbing the sycamore tree. Though this man was a great sinner, Jesus came to dine in his house much to the dismay of the religious leaders. Yet Jesus led this man Nicodemus to repentance and salvation. In the due course of time, when Jesus died on the cross, Nicodemus did not flee nor abandon Jesus like most of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Very few men were brave enough to stand up for the Lord in public after the crucifixion. This man was one of them. He served the Lord well by bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes so that Jesus’ body could be wrapped in linen with these spices as per the Jewish burial custom.
Jesus at his death caused Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to manifest the courage and right action no matter what the circumstances for the sake of the Lord. If you were in place of these men at that would you have done the same for Jesus? It’s a hard question to be honest. But the simple answer would be your actual actions in such times. However there should be nothing keeping you from standing up for Jesus Christ no matter where and when, if you truly believe that he is the Son of God. Yet again, were only courage and good works what Jesus woke these to men to by his death? Not at all, because by his agonizing death on the cross and his glorious resurrection from the dead he made available not just for them but for everyone who believe complete justification and salvation. You don’t earn your salvation by your good works but yes once you accept your salvation by your faith in Jesus and his Gospel then by your good works you can indeed give glory to God. The power of the Lord Jesus in his death and resurrection goes beyond inspiring courage and good deeds. For it has healing for sick, forgiveness for the sinner, deliverance from the darkness, friendship with God and life everlasting. Blessed are those who have not seen Jesus and yet believe. Amen.
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord‘s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord. (Psalm 118:19-26)
The very person rejected by the scribes and the Pharisees has turned out to be the cornerstone which the builders rejected. Jesus of Nazareth is his name. He comes in the name of the Lord God of Hosts. He did not come into the world for his own glory but for the glory of the One who sent HIM. To those who believe this are the doors of salvation open in the land of the living.
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:28-40)
It is truly wise to accept Jesus Christ as the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Not a king of earthly limitations but rather a king sent from God himself. Not everyone in the world accepts him as their king, the king of righteousness but for those who do, they will never be wrong. Therefore hold fast to your confession of faith which Jesus came to die for all sinners so that those who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life.
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matthew 23: 37-39)
Jesus came for the Jews and also for the Gentiles but first for the Jews. Now remember that most of the disciples of Jesus when he walked on this earth were Jews. However not every Jew including the religious leaders had faith that he was sent by the Lord. This was because they didn’t understand the Scriptures in the light of the Holy Spirit but were legalistic. Yet the Savior of the world has given them this, that if they acknowledge him as sent by the Lord, then their house will not longer be desolate. But even as their times come again, let everyone who is capable of breathing even now say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’. Amen.
The Lord God has the final say about the Jews and their future. No man nor woman nor demon can sabotage their destiny which comes from God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. People tend to forget a historical fact in the beginnings of the Church it had a Jewish majority and also that Jesus Christ himself was born a Jew. Only fools will use the Bible as a pretext to hate Jews. Never use the Bible to promote racism of any sort!
God still loves the Jews and wants them to be saved. Any teaching that says Jews are doomed forever is in fact a false teaching and heresy.
At present the Jews are still not saved as a nation but that doesn’t write them off. If anyone can save the Jews then its only one person; the great Lord and Deliverer Jesus Christ himself. Please read Romans chapter 11 mentioned below to get clear understanding about the future of Israel:
11 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”
9 And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”
11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.
25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! (Psalm 122:6)
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! (Psalm 137:6)
On 18th November 2014, there was a deadly attack at a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem. There were about 5 victims who died in this assault by 2 Mohammedan Palestinian fanatic cousins. Among the victims included 1 rabbi from the UK and 3 rabbi’s from the United States of America. There were other who were wounded in these attacks and are still being treated as of of now. All this happened when the rabbi’s (religious leaders of the Jews) were praying in the direction of the ruins of the temple of Jerusalem.
While this was an evil act, the Hamas leader Mushir al-Masri celebrated these murders a ‘heroic act’ leading to great dissent among the people of Israel. The wicked cousins screamed out the name of their god when committing these vile acts. The murderers were later killed in a gun battle with the police. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu has already said that they will retaliate for these murders. No surprise about his stance, as there were many self-deceived Palestinians actually celebrating the murders, yes actually celebrating the murders.
I would strongly recommend that you go through the following news articles if you aren’t aware of it as yet or just that you want to know more:
- Israel Shaken by 5 Deaths in Synagogue Assault (source link: click here)
- Hero police officer with four-month-old baby becomes fifth victim of Palestinian attack on Israeli synagogue after being shot in the head as he tried to save civilians (source link: click here)
- Palestinians Celebrate Jerusalem Murders (source link: click here)
Here are a few points that you can pray about in this case:
- Pray for peace for the families of the victims who died in the attacks.
- Pray that no more attacks like this happen in Jerusalem.
- Pray that all the those who masterminded this terrorist attack are punished for their crimes.
- Pray that those who enjoyed the sufferings of the victims are put to shame.
- Pray that the Israeli’s step their security all over Israel.
- Pray that world governments condemn the murders of the victims and denounce the cause of the murderers.
- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem in these times.
- Pray that every potential suicide bombing attempt is thwarted in Israel.
- Pray that any misuse of this situation in the social media to tarnish the nature of the Jews is brought down right away.
- Pray that times of healing appear for the Jews.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
In your walk with God sometimes you may face temptations, sometimes you might be rejected by those who reject Christ our Lord and sometimes you might flying high above the opposition. What will sustain you and keep you from losing faith? It is none than your relationship with God. Christianity is ultimately is about being in a relationship with God in Christ Jesus. A relationship has emotions involved. God does express his emotions.
For those who believe in Christ the most prominent emotion by God is love. God loves you a lot. You cannot earn God’s love. There is no good deed that can cause him to love you more. All you need to do is to receive his love. Don’t block yourself out of the love of God by depending on worthless human tradition, self-abasement and worldly philosophies. Receive his love through his Son Jesus Christ. Christ’s love for us exceeds anything and everything. No one could possibly love you more. You sin is atoned for by Jesus Christ. Live no longer for the sinful world nor for any sin. Receive the freedom that Christ gives you through his redeeming sacrifice and shedding of his blood for you. Overcome because you believe in Jesus the overcomer of the world. Be holy therefore as the Lord your God is holy.
Trust in the Lord your God with your heart. Believe in his love for he is near to all who call on his name, in faith.
Christ be with you!
Stand not O lover of God in the darkness for God is light and in him is no darkness at all. Jesus is the light of world. He is Holy One of God who takes away of your sins. Do not fear the world that tempts you to sin but rather be courageous in Jesus Christ. He gives grace to the humble. Be humble enough to ask for his help when you are tempted in any form.
The world is beset by darkness, spiritual darkness to be precise. No wonder those who don’t have the light of Christ are covered by the darkness. We may live in a fallen world but are not called to share in its fallen nature. Awake O lover of God to his call to faith in Jesus the Son of God who gives you salvation.
Be not caught up in the darkness of sin and deceit. For the Evil One controls the destinies of people dwelling in sin. These people refused the light of God because of their love of darkness. Pray for such people instead of thinking of yourself as too great. Even you once were subject to the darkness due to your sin until Jesus Christ forgave you when you turned back to him. So be humble for your salvation is by God and not by your good works nor good looks.
Cling to Jesus Christ and love God. Live not for your selfish pursuits of sinful pleasure and riches. Rather live for the glory of God. Reject the falsehood of the world, the works of wickedness and those who hate Christ our Lord. Be in the light so that you give true glory to God.
I pray that the light of our Lord Jesus Christ shine on you and your loved ones always in this life and in the next life which also includes the new heaven and the new earth and most importantly new Jerusalem. All praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God. Amen.
For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.( Psalm 18:28)
And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.( Isaiah 60:2-3)
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-28)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. ( 1 John 1:5-7)
And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (Acts 26:15-18)
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (Timothy 6:11-16)
That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15)
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.( 1 Thessalonians 5:5)
The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:19)
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:23-27)
When you are confused to pray about your situation or need then ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for you. The Holy Spirit will the plead you cause like no human on earth can, ever. He will pray the right words when you are at a loss for words.
Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will.
If you can pray in tongues then use it so that the Holy Spirit pleads your cause. If you can’t pray in tongues, then ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to speak in tongues. You find it beneficial to get someone who already can pray in tongues, to pray along with you so that you receive this gift. Nevertheless you can simply say that ‘Dear Holy Spirit, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I don’t know what to say or pray to God in my situation right now. But I ask that you intercede for me and my cause so that I overcome everything so that God is glorified. Amen’
If you believe in Christ Jesus, then you must pray that you receive the Holy Spirit. Did you know that after the death of Jesus, his disciples lived in fear and confusion? That changed when Jesus sent them the Holy Spirit. When Jesus came back from the dead he promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after he ascended to heaven and they would receive power there after. One of the manifestation of this power is that they spoke in tongues.
Acts 2:1-5 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
Though the purpose of this post is to encourage you to let the Holy Spirit intercede for you in times of trouble, there is one thing I’d like to conclude with; the Holy Spirit will give you courage to speak the right things. He will help you speak the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:31 – And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.