Carrying Christ


Jesus had taken his last breath. It was over. For the disciples, there must have been a tangle of emotions: sadness, disappointment, anger, loss, maybe confusion. But I doubt there was expectation. Scripture is clear that the followers of Jesus were not anticipating the Resurrection. So what next? Today’s passage occurs on the day of Preparation, the Friday before the Sabbath—the day set apart by God himself in the fourth commandment as a day to remember and to rest. So, what does a follower of Jesus do when it appears that it’s all over—when all seems to be lost?

  • When you experience loss or disappointment, do you feel it is a license to ignore God’s commands until things get better?


50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What do we learn from the passage about Joseph of Arimathea’s social status and inner character? What does it mean that he was “looking for the kingdom of God” (vs. 51)?
  2. What things did Joseph do in an attempt to give Jesus a proper burial, even as the Sabbath quickly approached?
  3. Why do you think Luke was so methodical in chronicling the details of Jesus’ burial? Why was it important to document that Jesus was truly dead?
  4. Why is the timing important? And why the mention of the Sabbath?
  5. Joseph could have used numerous excuses to convince himself not to deal with Jesus’ corpse— his social status, the time element, his mental fragility after witnessing such a traumatic ordeal. But he chose obedience. In trying times, do you choose excuses or obedience?


In all likelihood, Joseph was reeling. He was a member of the council that ushered in the death of Jesus. He was important enough in society that Pilate had released Jesus’ body to him—an act very unusual under Roman law. He had just physically held the weight of death in his arms as he carried Christ to the tomb. But the Sabbath was near. And Joseph did not forsake his faith. He and the other women there did not use their pain as an excuse to disregard God’s commands. They still honored God, as they knew Scripture to teach, even though all seemed lost. Joseph chose obedience.

  • Pray that God will give you the courage not to give up faith when all seems lost.
  • Ask God to remind you in difficult times that the pain of Good Friday is what gives Christians hope that Resurrection is near.