” He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.” Isaiah 53:9 NLT ”
‘Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ” Hebrews 10:7 NKJV
One of the greatest joys and happiness of being a believer in the true God (which an atheist generally misses) is the knowledge that our life is designed. Before we were brought into this world, long before the beginning of times, what we will be, what we will do with our lives, has been written down in the mind of the Almighty. The Almighty mind is eternal, and does not operate within the confines of time. Hence, His thoughts are generally transcendent and He makes His plans in eternity, and only have them executed in time.
Unlike the divine mind, the human mind is limited. It only operates within the realms of time. It can only know the past and live the present, but it is not given to him to really know the future. He only sees things in bits and pieces. Thus, he sometimes become a victim of worries, anxiety and concerns about the future of his life.
I was so touched by the opening lines of the series movie, Merlin, where the voice of the dragon commenced thus: ” No young man, no matter how great, can know his destiny. He cannot glimpse his part in the great story that is about to unfold. Like everyone, he must live and learn. And so it shall be for the young warlock arriving at the gates of Camelot. A boy that will in time father a legend. His name… Merlin.”
So it was also for Joseph of Arimathea. Not much is said of his ancestry, only that he came from a town called Arimathea in Judea. There has been many speculations in theological circles about his personality, but going by all the scriptures told us, we do not know much about him, except of course the obvious fact: that he was born by a woman who was impregnated by a man, and that he grew up normally. Sometimes, we celebrate so much the birth of a baby, but if you follow Bible history, not many people’s birth stories are told us, unless the information is considered very important (even 2 of the 4 gospel accounts of Jesus bore no records of his birth).
The greatest concern of heaven is that anyone who is born should fulfill what is written concerning him in the mind of the Almighty.
So, we move to the Arimathean. Thousands of years before Joseph came on the scene of biblical history, ancient prophecy went forth from the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah. The prophet spoke clearly about many aspects of the life of Christ long before He was physically born into the world. In Isaiah 53, he began to speak about the manner of death by which Jesus Christ will bring redemption to the whole world. In vs. 9 the prophet remarked that Christ (who had never wronged or deceived anyone) will be treated like a criminal (which was fulfilled by his being crucified on the cross in-between two thieves), but at the end, he will be put in a rich man’s grave.
No word of the Lord will go unfulfilled. Christ must be buried in a rich man’s grave. That is what prophecy said, that is what had been determined in the Almighty mind long before times began. To see this verse fulfilled, Joseph the Arimathean was born!
In the course of this teaching series, we will draw lots of lessons from his life; but permit me to end by showing you few things:
- You were born and sent to this world to fulfill a purpose.
- Something is written concerning you in the volume of the book. Note that the phrase is ‘volume of the book’, not ‘volumes of the books’, and this shows me that a particular book is being talked about here.
- That Book is the Bible. It contains God’s mind, and in it the destiny and purpose of all men are perfectly chronicled.
- Every chapter, every verse, every punctuation marks in the Bible is detailing a man’s destiny. If we have perfect knowledge, we will see that each man’s work and the purpose for which he lived can be perfectly described by a verse or passage of Scriptures (e.g John was a voice crying in the wilderness- Isaiah 40 vs. 3).
- Some may know their particular ‘verse of life’, and some may never know. John knew, but I believe that the Arimathean did not know. However, if you follow the principles of life as established in God’s word (some of which we will share in this series), you will fulfill your purpose regardless).
- So, the next time you have a Bible in your hand or you are reading it, approach it with a sense of awe, for in it is contained the destiny of the whole world.
- Finally, the greatest tragedy in life is when a man (especially a Christian) will let a whole day pass without encountering God through His word (the Bible). This is the reason why many walk in darkness and do not fulfill God’s plan for their lives, because you will not find what you are not seeking. It’s a fundamental principle of life.