Sunday, May 28, 2006

What I'm reading on the Subway #2.

I had my Home Fellowship Group last night ['Bible Study' for you Sydney guys]. We did the last of the Bible Studies in Mark's Gospel. I posted the studies up before: "Better for your Soul than a Bagel". The Studies can be downloaded from that page.

If you are for some random prayers, pray for some of the guys in our group: Sam, Caroline [and Baby Jimmy], Rich, Lynda, Eric, Sharon [who turned 50 yesterday], Clara, Rakesh and Amanda.

Anyways, we looked last night at Mark 15:40-16:8, and we talked about Joseph of Arimathea. He was the [secret] believer who asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.

And, interestingly, I read this Frederick Buechner comment on the Subway today:

Joseph of Arimathea: As a prominent member of the Jewish establishment, Joseph of Arimathea needed guts to go to Pilate and ask for the dead body of Jesus so he could give it a decent burial. It is presumably no easier for a closet Christian to come out of the closest than it is for anybody else, and you can't help admiring him for it. In view of the events of Easter morning, however, you can't help noting that if he'd only waited a few days, he could have spared himself a thumping bill from the undertaker.

"It is important to give Joseph of Arimathea his due for his mortuary solicitude, but at the same time it is hard not to see him as the first of many Christians who spend so much time stewing about the blood of the lamb that they lose sight of the fact that the lamb has long since gone on to greener pastures where he's kicking up his heals in the sunshine and calling others to join in the dance.”

From: “Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who”, by Frederick Buechner.

Fair or not?

Love, Justin.


Anonymous said...

Not Fair.
Read about Joseph of Arimathea this morning.
Luke says he opposed the killing in the council - thats not very 'closet' given the charged midnight atmosphere of the council meeting, and the numerical weight of opposition. Plus there is simply nothing suggesting the 'stewing' Buechner talks of...besides who really does that?
I was actually struck by the bloodiness of the task - how would you actually remove the body of Jesus from the cross - and what would it be like handling his limp bloodied beaten frame? I thank God for Joseph's goodness and courage.

Mike Thompson ("Chester")

Justin said...


Chimin' in.

Good to have you here.

It struck me as unfair, as well. Or rather dreadfully speculative.

My impression of Buechner's comment is that he wrote the first paragraph about the 'thumping bill from the undertaker' and just whistled off from there about tombs and blood etc.

That having been said, John 29:38-40 records that Joseph was a secret disciple [out of fear of the leadership]. Maybe he came out at the council. But am I wrong in saying that all he did at the council was not assent to the killing? ie He noted with a 'Nay'. See Luke 23:55ff for that. Tell me if I'm missing something.

Mind you, Luke records that he was a good man. That should be good enough.

Interesting to ponder tho'.


Nt said...

Buechner is good for the soul... I love how he uses his imagination to creatively interact with the story. Nothing wrong with filling in some of the blanks wisely, eh?!
I am reading "Christ plays in 10,000 places" by Eugene Peterson. Can only do 2 pages at a time - so rich!!