We learn about Joseph of Arimathea in Sacred Scripture. Arimathea was his place of birth, which was most likely the same city also known as Ramatha, birthplace of the prophet Samuel.
All the authentic information that we have about Joseph is from Sacred Scripture in the New Testament. These are some of the facts about Joseph: He was a member of the Sandhedrin, a council of 71 members that had supreme executive, legislative, and judicial power over the Jewish faith. He apparently was a wealthy man and also a good and just man, according to Luke’s gospel (Luke 23:50). He was a disciple of Jesus, but this was concealed for fear of the Jews or members of the Sandhedrin who were against Jesus. It is unlikely that Joseph attended the meeting of the council that sentenced Jesus to death, as he did not agree with the others in their condemnation of Him.
After the crucifixion, Joseph was bolder in his support of Jesus. This is evinced by the fact that he went to Pilate and asked to have the body of Jesus released to him. He then not only provided his own new tomb for the burial of Jesus but, along with Nicodemus (another secret disciple), he provided the spices and burial cloth, which was a very fine white linen shroud. He and the others placed the body of Jesus in Joseph’s new, unused tomb, which was hewn out of rock in a nearby garden. After rolling a great stone in front of the opening, they left the garden. This is the last mention in Scripture about Joseph of Arimathea.
Scripture also states that Joseph of Arimathea was “himself looking for the kingdom of God” (Mark 15:43) which is why he realized that Jesus was more than just a prophet, something that most of the others in the Sandhedrin did not see. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7). Therefore, since Joseph was sincerely seeking, he was able to truly find … he found the Truth and the Truth is Jesus.
Dear Lord Jesus, we pray for the intercession and guidance of Saint Joseph of Arimathea, that we will we see clearly as he did and not be spiritually blind as so many of his brethren were. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
- St. Gundleus (Woolo) (5th Century), Welsh Prince, later a hermit, Husband of St. Gladys and Father of St. Cadoc.
image: Pietro Perugino, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons