Saturday, October 12, 2019

Asked for the body of Jesus: Luke 23:52

After Jesus had died, and while he still remained upon the cross, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate “and asked for the body of Jesus.” (Luke 23:52) The word translated here as “asked” is an interesting word. In the Greek, verbs are spoken in one of three voices: active, passive, and middle. In the active voice, the subject is doing the action. In the passive voice, the action is being done to the subject. In the middle voice, the subject is doing the action for themselves. In this verse, “asked” is spoken in the middle voice. Joseph was asking for himself the body of Jesus. This verb in this form is only used six times in the New Testament: three times in reference to Joseph of Arimathea, once by the daughter of Herodias as she asked for the head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:25), once of David as he asked permission to build God a temple (Acts 7:46), and once when Paul asked for letters to arrest any believers he might find in his travels (Acts 9:2).

In this passage, Joseph is not asking for someone else, or for some other purpose, but was asking for himself the body of Jesus. This was a bold move. It exposed him as a follower of Jesus and put his life in danger. But Joseph was all in and was willing to be associated with Christ, even in his death. While previously, he believed in secret, now his alliances were in the open for all to see. Sometimes it can be difficult to be associated with Christ or with his church, especially around people who do not believe and are even hostile to Christianity. But we must be willing to learn from the example of Joseph and be willing for others to see that, we too, have asked for ourselves to have Jesus.

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