Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. John 19:38-39
Now after they had gone away, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to seek the child to destroy him.” So he got up and[q] took the child and his mother during the night and went away to Egypt. Matthew 2:13-14
When I think about Jesus’ earthly life, I cannot help but marvel at the presence of two Josephs—one Joseph at the beginning of our Savior’s life; the other Joseph at the end. They both played a very crucial role in the drama of Jesus’ birth and resurrection. Imagine what would have happened if Joseph the carpenter did not heed the words of the angel, abandoned Mary, or did not flee to Egypt right before Herod’s attempt to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem? Imagine, too, if the other Joseph, Joseph of Arimathea, did not get Jesus’ body from the cross, laying it in a tomb for resurrection?
In both instances, Jesus’ earthly body was in need of protection. Herod could have killed the baby and the destiny of Jesus would have been forfeited. Now fast forward to Jesus’ death. If Joseph of Arimathea did not step up, jackals and other ferocious creatures could have eaten Jesus’ body and we would have no resurrection story.
Often, the role of these two Josephs are eclipsed by characters like Mary or Peter or John. Yet, these two Josephs were so crucial to the fulfillment of the destiny of Christ on earth!
How often do we think we play such small roles in the scheme of things, when our very presence may be so crucial in our Creator’s grand history of the universe? Since we are in the Last Days, we must regard each person with a specific, important destiny to fulfill!
In this time of the coronavirus, it is also good to ask ourselves if we can do anything to help the Body of Christ. The two Josephs literally played a role to save the body of Jesus. Like Joseph of Arimathea, who took care of the body of Christ during its period of darkness before the resurrection, perhaps there are those among us whom God is tapping to care for His Body, the Church, during this dark time? Or perhaps like Joseph the carpenter, God is calling for some to care for the Body during this “womb” period of darkness where God works in the background?
There is a role for the Church to play, and those who are capable—those who can care for the Church—can use this moment to arise and further the Body of Christ in her destiny of glory. Josephs, yes, arise to take your place in this crucial hour!
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.