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Chinese6/24/2005English
經文:約翰福音十九章
鑰節:「約瑟是耶穌的門徒,只因怕猶太人,就暗暗的作門徒」(19:38下)
提要

        約翰在記錄了耶穌被釘十架,及祂在十架上將自己的母親交託給約翰那感人的一幕後,就開始描述耶穌的安葬。我們可能期待耶穌的十二個門徒會因自己的膽怯、離棄耶穌自責,而從暗中出現,將耶穌的屍體從十架上取下來。但我們看到的卻是兩位最不可能的人選──兩個一直在暗中作門徒的人,為耶穌完成安葬之工。

        尼哥底母和亞利馬太的約瑟都是公會的成員,在耶穌所有的門徒中,以他們兩人作門徒的代價最大。他們在耶穌的受難日勇敢的宣告效忠耶穌。他們曾是耶穌祕密的信徒。尼哥底母就是那個曾在夜堥茖ㄜC穌的人,而我們不難想像,約瑟可能也與耶穌有過「夜間的約會」。現在他們心氣相通的一起策畫如何安葬耶穌。他們也計算了代價。如果他們公開的承認被釘十架的基督,他們恐將喪失在公會的地位。他們的影響力、社會地位,甚至大部分的老朋友也都將不保。他們可能要置身於社交的荒原。

        安息日即將來臨,因此他們快馬加鞭的在夕陽西下之際,將耶穌的身體從十架取下,甘犯因觸摸死屍而造成的不潔淨。他們用布將耶穌包好,每一層布還塗上尼哥底母買的香料,然後二人親手把他們的師父抬到約瑟自己的墳地,在那堣p心而憂傷的葬埋了耶穌。當日頭隱沒,所有的希望似乎也都消失了。這兩個憂傷的弟兄慢慢的離去。

        尼哥底母和約瑟的公眾形像很特出,但他們在信仰上卻顯得退縮,他們「怕猶太人」。像你我一樣,他們付不起作門徒的代價,至少,在大部分的情況堿O如此。但,在最艱難的時刻,他們的作為完全改觀了。卡笛那˙紐曼(Cardinal Newman)說,在九十九件輕而易舉的事上順服上帝算不了什麼,真正的考驗是在那最困難的第一百件事上。

        救主耶穌能賜給我們能力做我們認為不可能的事。尼哥底母和約瑟都親身經歷了這個能力。

禱告

        天父上帝,彼拉多對群眾說:「你看這個人」,他將歷史的眼光導向您兒子和我們的救主耶穌身上。幫助我們也能永遠注視為我們信心創始成終的耶穌。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read John 19
Key Verse:“Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews”.(John 19:38b --NIV )
Overview

        After recording the events of the crucifixion and the touching scene around the foot of the crow, when Jesus entrusts His mother to John’s keeping and care, John tells us about the burial. We might have expected the twelve disciples to come out of hiding, convicted in heart of their cowardice in deserting Jesus, and take the body down from the cross. Instead, we see two heretofore-secret disciples, and the most unlikely candidates for the task

        Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both members of the Sanhedrin, and the two of all Jesus’ disciples with the most to lose, courageously and lovingly declared their allegiance on that fateful day. They were secret believers. Nicodemus was the one who had come to see Jesus under the cover of night, and one wonders if Joseph had not had a similar nocturnal interchange with Jesus. Somehow they had connected, for obviously they had planned, however quickly, what they should do about the burial. They had also counted the cost. Their positions with the Sanhedrin were forfeit if they identified publicly with the crucified Christ. Their influence, status, and even most of their long-term friendships were shot. They were about to enter a social wasteland.

        They worked hurriedly, for the Sabbath was almost upon them. As the sun sank into the western sky, they took Christ’s body down from the cross, suffering ritual defilement as they touched the dead flesh. They wrapped Him in strips of cloth, packing between each layer the burial spices Nicodemus had brought. Then, with their own hands, they carried their Master to Joseph’s own grave. Gently and sorrowfully, they laid Him there. As the sun disappeared, it seemed all hope disappeared with it. The two grieving brothers slowly walked away.

        Nicodemus and Joseph were outstanding men in terms of their public profile, but were retiring in their faith. They “feared the Jews”. Like you and me they shied away from the cost of discipleship; at least, they had done so most of the time. But now they acted differently, when it was toughest. It is no great matter, declared Cardinal Newman, that we obey the Master in the ninety and nine cases where to do so is easy. The real test for us lies in the hundredth case, where it is hard.

        Jesus, our Savior and Lord, is able to empower us to do what we never thought possible. Nicodemus and Joseph know all about that.

Prayer

        Father God, as Pilate said to the crowd, “Behold the man,” he directed the gaze of all history to Your Son and our Savior, Jesus. Grant that we may ever focus our gaze upon Him who alone is the Author and Finisher of our faith.


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