I didn’t grow up with the joy of having a sister, but God has blessed me with true-blue girlfriends all my life. In 1990, one family jokingly adopted me as their sixth daughter. I became known to them as Rhonda #6 and I was happy to be a pseudo sister to the other five girls in that wonderful family. Daughter #4 is a professional woman with closets full of attractive clothes. Occasionally, I call Deborah to ask if I may borrow a brown skirt, a polka-dot blouse, etc. Even if my request is “off the wall,” she always comes through for me. I guess it’s a sister thing to wear each other’s clothes. When I borrow an article of clothing, it’s usually for a special occasion taking place over the weekend.
Joseph of Arimathea was an upright, wealthy, and generous man who assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after His crucifixion. Among the Jews, it was considered a horrible thing for the body of a friend or fellow Jew to remain unburied. “As evening approached, Joseph…who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him” (Matthew 27:57-58 NLT). This was the first documented instance where Joseph openly confessed that he was a disciple of the long-awaited Messiah. It took great courage to go to Pilate and ask for the body of Christ.
Joseph was part of the Jewish Sanhedrin who called for Jesus to be condemned and crucified. Although a prominent member in good standing, Joseph was opposed to the Council’s decision. With Pilate’s permission, “…Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus…. He brought about 75 pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. …they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before…they laid Jesus there” (John 19:38-42 NLT). The embalming spices were very costly and was enough for the burial of a king…the King of kings.
“He [the Messiah] had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave” (Isaiah 53:9 NLT). Although Jesus was an innocent Man, God’s Holy One, dishonor pursued Him all the way to the tomb. His death was an official Roman execution sanctioned by the Sanhedrin Council. Joseph of Arimathea donated his newly-carved sepulcher for the Savior’s burying place. Jesus had done nothing to deserve such a vicious death and was guilty of nothing more than love in the third degree.
Scripture reveals that Jesus could be trusted to borrow things. He borrowed an unsanitary manger at his birth. He borrowed a lowly donkey’s colt when he rode into Jerusalem. He borrowed an upstairs guest room for the Last Supper. And he borrowed a fresh tomb at his death. Joseph of Arimathea deeply loved Jesus and gave Him his own tomb, thinking he’d never see the inside of it again. Fortunately, Joseph’s gift of honor was returned after three days because Jesus only needed it for the weekend.
The Key: Jesus borrowed a tomb just for the weekend, but He wants us to live with Him for all eternity.