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I Did the Job No One Wants

First person narrative sermon from the perspective of Joseph of Arimathea, Member of the Sanhedrin, for a Good Friday service.

You probably don’t know me. I guess I wouldn’t expect you to. I’m not exactly some big-name apostle who can fill up an amphitheater. “For 1 night only! Peter, the Rock!”

No, I’m just a footnote. The answer to a trivia question.

But I will say this about me: I did The Job No One Wants. I handled Jesus’ body between his death and his burial. I was there. I did it. I saw everything that happened. And it changed me.

Let me tell you about it.

It was afternoon on the day before Passover. Maybe about 3:30 in the afternoon. I looked and saw that the sun was already getting lower in the sky. If I didn’t go now, it would be too late.

But I couldn’t move. I was standing right near the door, but it felt like my sandals were nailed to the floor. I felt paralyzed with fear. Have you ever felt that way?

My wife saw me standing there, not moving and said, “What’s wrong?” “If I do this,” I told her, “if I stick my neck out like this, we could lose everything.”

I should probably explain, I sit on The Great Sanhedrin. Probably like your Congress and Supreme Court, put together. I am one of only 71 people. We sit in a semi-circle, inside the chambers of the Temple itself, and we decide every matter of importance for our people.

But if I did this, if I took that step out the door, I will probably be forced off the council. I will lose my influence; I will be stripped of my power. I could do so much good if I stayed on!

And I don’t want people to be turning away from me, when I come down the street. What am I thinking? What am I doing?

My wife didn’t know what to say. And the sun was slanting ever lower. It was now, or never.

I found Pilate in the ...

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Kevin A. Miller is the senior pastor at Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois.

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