“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.”Mark 15:43
At His birth, during His earthly life and at His death, Jesus had men and women prepared for roles in His life and mission. For his birth he prepared Simeon and Anna; for his death he prepared Joseph and Nicodemus. These people had several things in common. They took the Old Testament scriptures literally and believed the prophecies contained therein. They were ready for Jesus’ appearing. Jesus later warned Israel to be ready (Matthew 24:44) and told a parable to that effect (Matthew 25:1-13). It was biblical prophecy, taken literally and believed, that prepared them and many others for their roles and service to Jesus Christ. We do a great disservice to Jesus if we do not do the same. If we don’t take God’s word literally and believe it, we will be unprepared for what is to come and unable to serve Him.
How we receive biblical prophecies will affect how we respond to personal situations and world events. Joseph of Arimathea was ready for the coming kingdom because he believed the prophecies concerning Messiah and Israel. His faith in God’s word led him to put his life on the line by presenting himself to Pilate asking for Jesus’ body. Faith in God’s word will always produce actions that demonstrate that faith (James 1:22; 2:14-26). James tells us that “faith” that fails to produce acts of faith is non-existent (2:20).
It seems reasonable that if we continue to read and believe God’s word and live our lives in accordance with it, then we will be prepared by the Holy Spirit for what is to come and for our role day by day. The Bible reveals that before Jesus returns to establish His earthly reign certain events must take place. If we don’t believe what God has given us in scripture, life will be like groping around in an unfamiliar room in total darkness. We will stumble and fall and this may lead to despair. However, if we believe the prophetic scriptures we will be prepared for those events prophesied by God through Jesus Christ and the prophets.
Throughout the New Testament we have testimonies that God’s faithful people expected the literal fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. Examples of this include Mary (Luke 1:55) and Zacharias (Luke 1:72-73); and they are not alone in this.