March 24

Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. (John 19:38)

Love wins another round

Love and fear are mortal enemies. They compete for the human heart. When one ascends the other subsides.

You see it as Joseph asks for the body of Jesus, seeking the approval of Pilate who could have him arrested for being Jesus’ friend and follower. The fears that held Joseph back are gone now. There is something he absolutely must do, and he knows it.

No external force compels him. But the insistent voice of love within him cannot be denied lest he deny himself. His soul is at stake.

Once he shied from public association with Jesus, but now love wins, which is the only victory Jesus ever wanted to win, defeating the fear that binds the love within us from seeing the light of day.

Just so, Joseph takes leave to remove Jesus’ body from the cross and mourn his loss. Meanwhile, Pilate takes a deep breath and congratulates himself for disposing of this mystery man, hoping he will be disposed somewhere beyond sight and mind where he will cause no further trouble.

It’s ironic. With all his power and the legions of Rome at his disposal, Pilate remains ruled by fear, while Joseph has become a free man.

So it goes. In the battle of love with fear, the winners always have the freest hearts and the deepest wounds.

Pr. David L. Miller

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you

By your holy cross you have redeemed the world.