ODJ: take the next step

November 25, 2014 

READ: John 19:28-42 

Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body (v.38).

Have you felt the crushing weight of despair? Perhaps a performance review was negative, a cancer screening was positive or your spouse wanted a divorce. Suddenly, your life seemed pretty much over.

Joseph of Arimathea had one of those days. Having been a secret follower of Jesus, he apparently was there when his fellow council members condemned Jesus to death (Luke 23:50-51). He thought Jesus was going to establish His kingdom on earth. But that hope was quickly dashed when Joseph witnessed Jesus’ death one dark day.

Then Joseph did something that didn’t seem worth the risk. It was a small gesture, yet it turned out to be part of the salvation story. Late that afternoon Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. If Joseph had fled with the rest of the disciples, the Saviour’s body would have been tossed on the rubbish dump with the other crucified criminals, to be eaten by dogs and vultures. There would have been little left to rise from the dead and Jesus’ prophecy about His burial would have been false (see Matthew 12:40). But Joseph buried Jesus in his own tomb, and so fulfilled another prophecy found in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53:9).

Emergency responders tell disaster victims to focus on the task at hand. Just do what you need to do to survive and wait for help to arrive. Help will surely come, if you believe in the Lord who saves. It may come in two days, as it did for Joseph, or not until this life is over. But it will come, for the same Spirit who raised Jesus will also “give life to your mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).

Are you waiting for deliverance? Take the next step. It might be the very thing God uses in your rescue. —Mike Wittmer

365-day plan› 1 Corinthians 15:1-20

Read Psalm 3:1-8 to learn how to respond when facing a hopeless situation. 
What predicament in your life seems hopeless? What small step can you take to express your confidence in God?