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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK - Chapter 15 - Verse 43
Verse 43. Joseph—an honourable counsellor. A distinguished man, who probably held a high office among the Jews, as one of their great council or a Jewish senator. The word honourable here is not a mere title of office, but is given in reference to his personal character, as being a man of integrity and blameless life.
Waited for the kingdom of God. Waited for, or expected, the coming of the Messiah. But this expression means more than an indefinite expectation that the Messiah would come, for all the Jews expected that. It implies that he believed Jesus to be the Messiah, and that he had waited for him to build up the kingdom of God; and this agrees with what John says, Joh 19:38 that he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews. He had retained his secret belief in the hope that Jesus would be proclaimed and treated as the Messiah, and then he probably proposed openly to acknowledge his attachment to him. But God called him to a public profession of attachment in a different manner, and gave this distinguished man grace to evince it. So men often delay a profession of attachment to Christ. They cherish a secret love; they indulge a hope in the mercy of God; but they conceal it for fear of man. Whereas God requires that the attachment should be made known. "He that is ashamed of me," said the Saviour, "and of my words before men, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in the glory of his Father and of the holy angels." Those who love the Saviour have no right to hide their light under a bushel. As soon as they have evidence, satisfactory to their own mind, that they are Christians, or have a prevalent belief, after faithful examination, that they truly love God, and depend on the Lord Jesus for salvation, so soon are they bound to profess Christ before men. This is the command of God, and this is the way of peace. None have the prospect of comfort in religion, who do not have respect to all of the commandments of God.
Went in boldly unto Pilate. God had raised up this distinguished counsellor and secret disciple for a special and most important vocation. The disciples of Jesus had fled; and if they had not, they had no influence with Pilate. Unless there had been a special application to Pilate in behalf of Jesus, his body would have been buried that night in the common grave with the malefactors: for it was a law of the Jews that the body of an executed man should not remain on the cross on the sabbath. At this critical juncture, God called forward this secret disciple—this friend of Jesus, though unknown as such to the world, and gave him confidence; he dared to express sympathy for the Saviour; he went in boldly, and begged the body of Jesus. It needed no small measure of courage to do this. Jesus had just been condemned, mocked, spit on, crucified—the death of a slave, or the most guilty wretch. To avow attachment for him now was proof of sincere affection; and the Holy Spirit has thought this worthy of special notice; and has set down this bold attachment of a senator for Jesus, for our imitation.
Craved the body. Begged, or asked.
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