Jesus is Laid in the Tomb…
Joseph of Arimathea boldly asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, and as they took Jesus down from the cross, they laid Him in a tomb carved out of the rock:
When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid. -Mark 15:42-47, NAB
As a “distinguished member of the council,” Joseph of Arimathea was putting himself in danger by asking for the body of Jesus. By doing so, he was essentially admitting to Pilate, the Romans, and the Jews that he was a follower of Christ’s, even if he had not been public about it before.
Aligning oneself with Christ, at that time, could lead to the same fate of Jesus: crucifixion. It was for this very reason that we do not see most of the Apostles standing by the cross (it is believed that only John was there). Despite the Apostles, Jesus’ closest disciples, not being there, Joseph of Arimathea steps up.
The Apostles obviously held a special place in Jesus’ heart, as well as in the early Church, but it was Joseph of Arimathea, a man we do not know much about, that was called to this important task. It was Joseph of Arimathea who had the courage to help take care of our Lord.
Like Joseph or Arimathea, we, too, can do great things for Christ. We may not be an archbishop, bishop, or priest; we may not even be someone called to full-time or part-time ministry; however, Jesus may still give us the opportunity to boldly step up like Joseph of Arimathea. We are all disciples of Christ, and therefore, we are each called to stand up in His name.
Joseph of Arimathea’s calling was to ensure that Jesus’ body was properly cared for (I doubt the Romans would have cared for it at all). What is your calling? What has God asked you to do? Whatever your calling may be, it is an important part of the work of the Church. Everyone has a role to play.