Headlines from First Thoughts

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Secret Students

Which is more surprising? That Pilate's wife sent him a note or Joseph of Arimathea lived past the burial of Jesus?

According to some scholars, wives of procurators were not even allowed to travel with their husbands. The government wanted the magistrates focused on their duties-- not on their families. Pilate's wife appearance in Jerusalem is shocking.

Joseph of Arimathea possibly risked death to ask for the body of Jesus. If it had not been Passover season, the Romans might have just left the bodies on the poles to be picked off by birds. Most people would not risk association with a crucified criminal publicly.

When both of these characters appear from the backstage of Matthew's dramatic account, suddenly secret practices have real meaning. These people, who have studied Jesus' life privately, have eternal insight.

Pilate's wife listens to her dreams, echoing the dreams of the magi who went "home by another way." Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the same religious establishment responsible for Jesus' arrest, reveals that he has been on Jesus' side the entire time.

You never know who might be lurking-- or learning-- behind the scenes of good vs. evil.

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