Darkness = Absence of Light
After Yeshua was crucified, the gospels portray an interesting string of events leading to Yeshua’s resurrection. I realized that I never asked the question why it was Joseph of Arimathea who asked to bury Yeshua’s body. Joseph of Arimathea, who supposedly was a respected Orthodox Jew (some believe he was a member of the Sanhedrin) came forward to the Romans and requested to collect the body of Yeshua. Because Joseph appears only now, many presume he has been a secret believer in order to avoid rejection or at least persecution from the Rabbinical elite (Let the reader understand my respect for the Rabbinical community nonetheless). But why was it Joseph who came forward? Why not one of his disciples, a male member of His earthly family, or another follower? Surely, these were his mishpahah (his family), so why weren’t they there?
There is no simple answer. But it does raise the question: What constitutes a friend? What constitutes a student or a believer? Yeshua fortold his resurrection; his talmidim (disciples, students) knew this. Yet, they were not there. Did they give up hope? Were they too distraught to show up? If the disciples truly believed that He would be raised in three days, wouldn’t they be there at the tomb waiting all day? They should be having a mega-party! Yet, only the women come.
This conundrum takes my consciousness in multiple directions. How could his disciples – men who gave up their entire livelihood to follow Yeshua – simply doubt and mourn enough to forget Yeshua’s promises? Surely, a follower must possess some amount of zealousness to drop his nets and follow a Rabbi. I think about how Joseph of Arimathea, in faith, boldly came to bury Yeshua in his Garden Tomb, but is the fact that he believed in secret actually good in the eyes of the Lord? Are we called to be secret believers? Or are we called to be exactly what God asks us to be regardless of the consequences? (I believe the latter).
When the women saw the angel of the Lord in place of Yeshua, who was risen and is still risen, the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are searching for Yeshua, who was crucified. He is not here because he has been raised – just as he said!” (Matthew 28: 5-6, CJB). Note that the angel, first, speaks directly to the women and not to the Romans (quite funny and telling). The angel is, in effect, explaining to them that they have the wrong idea if they want to discover their Messiah in the areas of the dead. Our Messiah is the God of the living.
In summary, our belief in Yeshua, the God of Israel, should be complete. Our faith will require us to stay the course until the very end. God is looking for depth of quality in our faith – not quantity. Our story will be about how we exercised our faith with the circumstances God bestowed upon us on earth. Thus, if we live in secret, how can we be a true light to those who do not believe? The definition of darkness is absence of light. Bring a piece of light into a dark room and the entire place – every square inch of it – will be illuminated. Often, the path of a believer will run through darkness, which means that the believer must expect to see nothing but darkness around them. In those moments, they must remember that they are the ones who have been called to bring light into darkness. They must rest upon their faith. A soul re-directed to Yeshua is like saving the world. Shalom.
— John Sharpe