In this sermon, part of a series on personalities of the Passion, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about Joseph of Arimathea who did too little for Jesus too late.  Here are some excerpts:

A Lovely Thing

“It is surely significant that all the four writers of the Gospels tell about the lovely thing that Joseph did. The day Jesus died had been a day in which all His professed followers had forsaken Him and fled…”

“…The Roman authorities didn’t care whether the body was taken down from the Cross or not… If no one had intervened, the Jews would have come before nightfall, removed the body from the Cross, taken it to the nearby Valley of Gehenna, which was the garbage disposal area for Jerusalem, and there flung it down as refuse to be burned in the smoldering ashes or devoured by scavenger dogs and carrion birds…”

Joseph of Arimathea

“…But one man resolved to give the body of our Lord an honorable burial. His name was Joseph of Arimathea. He appears only upon this one occasion within the Gospel record…”

“…So, he took with him Nicodemus, who had visited Jesus by night on one occasion (John 3), and who was also, perhaps, a secret disciple; and the two of them removed the Lord’s body from the Cross and buried it in the new rock-hewn tomb which Joseph had prepared for his own last resting place. It helped to salve his burdened conscience. But even as he performed those last deeds of reverence and of love, he knew in his heart that he was doing too little too late…”

“…We never hear his name again. They probably kicked him out of the Sanhedrin; but his name finds no place in the roster of the early Church…”

“…There is, I believe, a message for us today from our study of Joseph of Arimathea. Let me set it down in the form of two beatitudes…”


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


March 28, 1993

John 19:38

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)