Joseph of Arimathea (Mk 15:43-15:43)

“Joseph of Arimathea

Was a respected member

Of the council.

He also himself

Was waiting expectantly

For the kingdom of God.

He went boldly

To Pilate.

He asked for

The body of Jesus.”

 

ἐλθὼν Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, εὐσχήμων βουλευτής, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν προσδεχόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, τολμήσας εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς τὸν Πειλᾶτον καὶ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ.

 

There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories.  This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:57-58.  Luke, chapter 23:50-52, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus.  John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus.  Mark said that Joseph from Arimathea (ἐλθὼν Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας) came forward.  He was a respected member of the Jerusalem council (εὐσχήμων βουλευτής).  He was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν προσδεχόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He went boldly to Pilate (τολμήσας εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς τὸν Πειλᾶτον).  He asked for the body of Jesus (καὶ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.

The mocking passerby people (Mk 15:29-15:30)

“Those who passed by

Derided Jesus.

They were shaking

Their heads.

Saying.

‘Aha!

You who would destroy

The Temple

And build it

In three days,

Save yourself!

Come down

From the cross!’”

 

Καὶ οἱ παραπορευόμενοι ἐβλασφήμουν αὐτὸν κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν καὶ λέγοντες Οὐὰ ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν καὶ οἰκοδομῶν ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις,

σῶσον σεαυτὸν καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:39-40.  In Luke, chapter 23:35-37, the religious leaders and the soldiers were doing the mocking, not the passersby people.  However, John did not have anyone making remarks about Jesus.  Mark said that some people passing by abused and derided Jesus (Καὶ οἱ παραπορευόμενοι ἐβλασφήμουν αὐτὸν).  They shook their heads at Jesus (κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν).  They said “Aha! (Οὐὰ),” as they reminded Jesus that he had said (καὶ λέγοντες) if the Temple was destroyed (ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν), he would rebuild it in three days (καὶ οἰκοδομῶν ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις).  They told Jesus to save himself (σῶσον σεαυτὸν).  Why didn’t he come down from the cross (καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ)?  The taunting of these people seemed to turn on Jesus’ own words.  It would be surprising if many people came by the cross.

The plot against Jesus (Mk 11:18-11:18)

“The chief priests

And the Scribes

Heard it.

They keep looking

For a way

To kill him.

They were afraid

Of him,

Because the whole crowd

Was spellbound

By his teaching.”

 

καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς, καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν· ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν, πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος ἐξεπλήσσετο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ

 

There was something similar in Luke, chapter 19:47-48.  Mark said that the chief priests and the Scribes heard about this incident in the Temple (καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς).  Thus, they kept seeking or looking for a way to destroy or kill Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν).  This may have been the immediate event that caused the Jerusalem elders to be suspicious of Jesus.  However, they were afraid of Jesus (ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν), because the whole crowd (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος) was spellbound or astonished (ἐξεπλήσσετο) by his teaching (πὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ).  The plot thickens.

The history of this young man (Mk 9:21-9:22)

“Jesus asked

This father.

‘How long has this

Been happening

To him?’

The father said.

‘From childhood.

It has often cast him

Into a fire

And into water,

To destroy him.

But if you able

To do anything,

Have pity on us!

Help us!’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ Πόσος χρόνος ἐστὶν ὡς τοῦτο γέγονεν αὐτῷ; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐκ παιδιόθεν

καὶ πολλάκις καὶ εἰς πῦρ αὐτὸν ἔβαλεν καὶ εἰς ὕδατα ἵνα ἀπολέσῃ αὐτόν· ἀλλ’ εἴ τι δύνῃ, βοήθησον ἡμῖν σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς.

 

This is unique to Mark.  Jesus asked the father of this boy (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ Πόσος) how long a time had these convulsions been happening to him (χρόνος ἐστὶν ὡς τοῦτο γέγονεν αὐτῷ)?  The father said that it had been happening since his childhood (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐκ παιδιόθεν).  This evil spirit would often cast him both into fire (καὶ πολλάκις καὶ εἰς πῦρ αὐτὸν ἔβαλεν) and water (καὶ εἰς ὕδατα), as Matthew had mentioned, in order to destroy him (ἵνα ἀπολέσῃ αὐτόν).  Then the father asked Jesus, if he was able to do anything to help him and his son (ἀλλ’ εἴ τι δύνῃ βοήθησον ἡμῖν)?  He wanted Jesus to have pity and compassion on him and his son (σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς).

The man with the unclean spirit (Mk 1:23-1:24)

“Just then,

There was,

In their synagogue,

A man

With an unclean spirit.

He cried out.

‘What have you

To do with us?

Jesus of Nazareth!

Have you come

To destroy us?

I know

Who you are!

The Holy One of God!’”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ, καὶ ἀνέκραξεν

λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς. οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:29, has something similar, but it was not in a Capernaum synagogue, but in Gadarenes and it was 2 demonic spirits, not one as here.  Mark, chapter 5:7, as well as Luke, chapter 8;28 had these demoniacs speak to Jesus with somewhat similar words.  However, this is closer to Luke, chapter 4:33, where it is almost word for word.  Here Mark and Luke said that just then in their synagogue, (Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν) a man with an unclean spirit (ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,) cried out or shouted out to Jesus (καὶ ἀνέκραξεν).  He asked Jesus of Nazareth (Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ) what he had to do with them (λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί).  Had Jesus come to destroy or kill them (ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς)?  He said that he knew who he was (οἶδά σε τίς εἶ), the Holy One of God (ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Matthew had them say that Jesus had come to torment them, not destroy them, since the time of the final judgment day had not arrived.  This unclean spirit world was alive and active in first century Israelite culture.  The term “Holy One of God” had been applied to the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 4:9, as another name for a prophet, which was not as strong as the “Son of God,” a more powerful term.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a special person.

Joseph of Arimathea (Mt 27:57-27:57)

“When it was evening,

There came a rich man

From Arimathea,

Named Joseph,

He was also

A disciple of Jesus.”

 

Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ·

 

There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories.  This text is similar to Mark, chapter 15:43.  Luke, chapter 23:50-51, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus.  John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus.  Matthew said that when it was evening (Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), a rich man from Arimathea (ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας), named Joseph (τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ), who was also a disciple of Jesus (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ) came forward.  Notice that it was evening since no burials were permitted on the Sabbath or feast days.  Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.

Derision of Jesus (Mt 27:39-27:40)

“Those who passed by

Derided him.

They shook

Their heads.

They said.

‘You who would destroy

The Temple,

And then build it

In three days,

Save yourself!

If you are

The Son of God,

Come down

From the cross.’”

 

Οἱ δὲ παραπορευόμενοι ἐβλασφήμουν αὐτὸν κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν

καὶ λέγοντες Ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν καὶ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις οἰκοδομῶν, σῶσον σεαυτόν, εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ κατάβηθι ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:29-30.  In Luke, chapter 23:35, the religious leaders were doing the mocking.  However, John did not have anyone making remarks about Jesus.  Matthew said that some passing by people abused and derided Jesus (Οἱ δὲ παραπορευόμενοι ἐβλασφήμουν αὐτὸν).  They shook their heads at Jesus (κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν).  They reminded Jesus (καὶ λέγοντες) that he had said if the Temple was destroyed (Ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν), he would rebuild it in three days (καὶ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις οἰκοδομῶν).  They told Jesus to save himself (σῶσον σεαυτόν).  If he was the Son of God (εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ), why didn’t he come down from the cross (καὶ κατάβηθι ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ).  The taunting of these people seemed to turn on Jesus’ own words.

Two witnesses come forward (Mt 26:60-26:61)

“At last,

Two witnesses

Came forward.

They said.

‘This fellow said.

‘I am able

To destroy

The Temple of God,

And to build it

In three days.’”

 

ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο

εἶπαν Οὗτος ἔφη Δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:57-58, but Mark has more details and does not explicitly mention 2 witnesses, but only some witnesses.  There is nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that finally 2 witnesses came forward (ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο), an important number under Jewish law.  They said that this man had said (εἶπαν Οὗτος ἔφη) that he was able to destroy the Temple of God (Δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ) and rebuild it in three days (καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι).  Jesus had mentioned destroying this Temple in chapter 24:2.  He had also spoken about his resurrection in three days in chapters 16:21, 17:23, and 20:19.  There was no indication of when the 2 witnesses said that Jesus had uttered these words.

The importance of Daniel (Mt 24:15-24:15)

“When you see

The desolating sacrilege

Standing in the holy place,

As was spoken of

By the prophet Daniel,

Let the reader understand!”

 

Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω,

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:14, and in Luke, chapter 21:20, but only Matthew specifically mentioned the prophet Daniel.  Jesus warned that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing in the holy place (ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ), they would understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Matthew explicitly named the prophet Daniel (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου), chapter 9:27 and chapter 11:31, talking about the desolating abomination in the Temple.  In 175 BCE, the prince coming to destroy the high priest Onias III was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary during the war against the Maccabees uprising.  During this time, the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple.  Instead, they had these terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols.  Thus, the reference to Daniel is both eschatological about the end times as well as a reference to the political religious revolt of the Maccabees nearly 2 centuries earlier.