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October 17, 2017
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Your Influence and God's Kingdom

Dr. Henry Blackaby • Workplace, City & Nation Transformation
Joseph of Arimathea is not one of the better known characters in the Bible, but maybe he should be. His is one of the few stories mentioned in all four Gospels (Matt. 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42). That cannot be said for Zacchaeus, the woman at the well or the Good Samaritan. Even Peter's famous confession, "Thou art the Christ!" does not receive the same degree of coverage. Clearly the Gospel writers all recognized something significant about Joseph's action. What Joseph did was not miraculous or headline news. He simply took Jesus' body and placed it in his own newly constructed tomb.

Joseph of Arimathea is not one of the better known characters in the Bible, but maybe he should be. His is one of the few stories mentioned in all four Gospels (Matt. 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42). That cannot be said for Zacchaeus, the woman at the well or the Good Samaritan. Even Peter's famous confession, "Thou art the Christ!" does not receive the same degree of coverage. Clearly the Gospel writers all recognized something significant about Joseph's action. What Joseph did was not miraculous or headline news. He simply took Jesus' body and placed it in his own newly constructed tomb.

We don't know much about Joseph of Arimathea. Scholars are uncertain where Arimathea was. Matthew indicates Joseph was a rich man, a business leader who became Jesus' disciple (Matt. 27:57). Mark adds that he "took courage" and approached the brutal Roman procurator Pilate who had recently sentenced Jesus to death, and requested His body (Mark 15:43). Pilate would have been familiar with the prominent citizens under his supervision and he may have known who Joseph was. However, Pilate was notorious for his cruel treatment of those he governed. Asking for Jesus' body after His execution as a traitor was tantamount to admitting you were one of His followers. That took guts. Luke records that Joseph was a member of the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin. He was a "good and just man" who had disagreed with his peers concerning Jesus' death sentence (Luke 23:50-51). John reveals that Joseph followed Jesus secretly because of his fear of the Jewish religious leaders (John 19:38).

Isn't it interesting that Joseph was intimidated by religious leaders who zealously debated theology and searched for heretics, yet he courageously approached the ruthless Roman governor? This notoriously brutal man ordered peoples' crucifixions and here was Joseph requesting a condemned traitor's remains. Why did the Gospel writers commend Joseph so highly? He stepped up boldly for Christ when others were despairing. Peter and Matthew may have followed Jesus longer than Joseph had, but that night they were hiding from Pilate while Joseph was negotiating with him. Joseph was a successful businessman. He was used to dealing with hard nosed people! His position in the business community afforded him unique connections, skills and respect. At this historic moment, the businessman Joseph stepped up and leveraged his business experience and contacts to participate in Christ's work in his world.

As a business person, God has granted you unique contacts and resources that are largely unavailable to religious leaders. You might never step into the pulpit when your minister is away, but you have access to business, government, entertainment, sports, financial and world leaders. These are all avenues which may be closed to your pastor. Take an inventory of your business relationships and resources as well as your community contacts. Through your unique position in the business world you have the exciting opportunity to invest in God's kingdom and to serve Jesus. Like Joseph of Arimathea, intentionally use your position in the marketplace for the cause of Christ.

 

Visitor Comments (2)

Marketplace leaders

I never begin a day without bible study and Marketplace Leaders, a MUST read. Frequently the Lord speaks to me, and it has often felt like Os wrote only for me!!! My story is long, but what is significant is the very very long list of contacts I have made over the years. It never seemed significant, but now everything is falling into place. Of course, I never dreamed what we are doing now had an ultimate purpose, and I remain eternally grateful for Os' devotions, which have kept me going for years now.

Brian Mazakas of Santa Ana

I am in that place where I can hear the Word speak to me and can interpret how it applies to today. In my prayers I always try to ask the Lord for wisdom and strength now. Because I am in a season of learning from the Lord, what I am here for, in preparation for 2011, I want to make every moment I have to bless those around me and be available for God's work. While in this place of instruction and molding of my character I can see from this article that it is important not only to develop one's self but to develop relationships with those who God brings into my life. Jesus said to a worried parent "Don't you know I must be about my fathers business". He too was doing and making Himself known. It is why He knew Joseph. I love it when my contacts like this ministry confirm my prayers that I am on the right tract and "am about my Father's business". Seek the Lord and you will find Him in all things with open arms. I am so blessed by your ministry.




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