Sometime this week, I was reading about Ken Costa, an accomplished and successful South African banker and philantropist who had just become chairman of a private equity fund. He had written a book about Joseph of Arimathea and this piqued my interest to study further about this Joseph. Below are my findings about this rich and godly man who you find mentioned in the four gospels but only in so few a verse that it’s easy to miss all the detail packed into them. I also include notes on Nicodemus, who shared a number of similarities with Joseph, including being his contemporary at work, and his partner on that glorious night.
In summary, learning about these men teaches the role that our wealth and influence could have in doing God’s work in these evil last days, as those days were equally evil. It also shows wealthy men who studied the word of God faithfully, truly surrendered their heart to God, generously gave their best to God, faithfully kept the Sabbath day holy, stood by their moral convictions and were willing to be mocked for Christ’s sake.
If you want to study more about Joseph of Arimathea for yourself, read: Matthew 27: 57-61, Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; and John 19:38-42
- Respected Jewish leaders: Joseph was a prominent and respected member of the Jewish Council, the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus was also a member. The (great) Sanhendrin (a.k.a. council of elders, chief priests, teachers of the law) was the most powerful leadership body of the Jews, acting like a Supreme Court with 71 members, so these men were highly revered among peers.
- Men of affluence: Joseph was rich. Nicodemus likely also was, as he brought spices aplenty to apply on Jesus’ dead body.