He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.– Matthew 27:58-60
The way, or road map if you will, to discipleship is laid out for us here in these three seemingly simple verses of scripture:
- “He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.”– we learn in the verse just prior to this one that Joseph of Arimathaea was a disciple of Jesus. The first step in being, or becoming, a disciple is to Seek the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13 tells us, And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Joseph was seeking after Christ Jesus so fervently that he was willing to humble himself to the point of begging! Pilate was the governing ruler who presided over the crucifixion of the Lord. In these passages of scripture, he is spiritually representative of God the Father whom we are to direct our prayers and petitions to through His Son, Jesus Christ! We pray to the Father in Heaven to be granted access to the saving grace of Jesus!
- “Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.”- Our humble prayers reach the Father through the Son when delivered from a sincere humble heart. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:17). But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:6). In the case of the disciple Joseph, God has granted his request and he is allowed access to the Truth, the Word of God, which is Christ Jesus!
- “And when Joseph had taken the body…”- The Word of God is the body of Christ! Joseph is now allowed to ingest the word, feasting upon the Truth found therein, and is granted discernment and understanding to the degree given by the Father. A degree that grows depending upon the sovereign will of God and our obedience to Him.
- “he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth…”– Hebrews 4:12 states, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And in John 17:17 Jesus’ prayer to the Father was that He would use the Word to sanctify His disciples- Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.As we humbly read and meditate upon the Word, preserved for us in the Holy Bible, we are sanctified unto the Lord Jesus and He is sanctified in our hearts. The Word cleanses us as 1 Corinthians 6:11 declares, “…ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
- “And laid it in his own new tomb…”– This new tomb is representative of the new birth- the rebirth- of being reborn. We are the spiritual dead until we are granted life in Christ Jesus. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
- “which he had hewn out in the rock:”– As we seek the Lord Jesus through His Word, humble prayer, and obedience our transformation into His likeness progresses. Jesus is the Rock of our salvation and it is through Him that we are sanctified unto holiness. He becomes our all-in-all, fulfilling our needs, wants, and desires. It is to Him that we run for safety, wisdom, understanding- all things! The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower (Psalm 18:2).
- “and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre…”– Those that belong to the Lord Jesus, His sheep, are protected and secure. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:9). Jesus is the Rock and the Door faithfully protecting and guarding the hearts and minds of His disciples.
- “and departed.”– I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). We leave off seeking after our own lusts, wants, and desires- our aspirations change; our way of looking at the world changes! All things are brought into alignment with The Word of God when we are born again disciples of Jesus Christ.