The First 15

Tuesday April 28, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

Stepping Out


Mark 15:42-47

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.


He wasn’t one of the Twelve. His formative years weren’t spent following Jesus. Until now, he hasn’t been part of the gospel. As far as we know, he wasn’t around for most of Jesus teaching. He is a prominent and wealthy man too. He has a lot to lose: life’s work, council seat, status in the community. There is so much we don’t know about him. How did he come to be here? Most questions must go unanswered when it comes to Joseph of Arimathea.

What we do know is he’s been waiting for the kingdom of God. He did not consent to the decision to crucify Jesus. He is a man who must pray and listen to God. His faith forms his action. He doesn’t have the qualifications or experience we would expect of someone to boldly act this way…to go straight to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. Yet this is what he does. In his faithful expectation for the kingdom of God to come, Joseph is an instrument of God caring for the body and providing the setting for the greatest miracle of all time!

God answers Joseph’s prayer and expectation. I wonder if Joseph ever expected to be used by God to usher in His kingdom!? You never know what God will do with your seemingly small act of obedience. Joseph is prompted by the Holy Spirit to step out and risk his own livelihood by boldly asking for Jesus’ body. Where is God leading you to step out? We can’t step out in faith if we don’t step into prayer and consume God’s word. Stepping out without the guidance of the Spirit is not beneficial. I believe we’re in a time where the people of God are praying and believing like never before. And, when shelter in place is lifted, we’re going to see the church step out and witness like never before. Where is God calling you to step out?

Prayer for Today

Morning Prayer from Saint Patrick

    I arise today
Through the sength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

    I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

    Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

    I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

The First 15

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