Who Was Joseph of Arimathea?

Joseph of Arimathea was one of the figures in the bible who had an important role to play when it came to the burial of Jesus Christ. His account is found in all four Gospels.

He is known as Joseph of Arimathea simply because he came from a town of the same name. This was also so that he could be distinguished from the various other Josephs we come across in the Bible.

Even though there isn’t too much information available on this person, there are a few things we can figure out based on the texts. In Luke 23:50, it is said that Joseph is part of a Council or Sanhedrin – the religious group of Jewish leaders who called for the crucifixion of Jesus. But, when you continue reading and reach verse 51, you will see that Joseph was initially opposed to the decision of the Council, and was a follower of Jesus, if only secretly. Joseph was considered a wealthy man even though the main source of his wealth is not known. Apart from this, the Bible also says that Joseph was a good and upright man.

After the death of Jesus, Joseph put himself at a great risk when requesting Jesus’ body. Nicodemus, the Pharisee who visited Jesus to ask about God’s Kingdom, went with Joseph. The two men were given custody of the body and began preparing for his burial.

There are a lot of spurious legends and stories about Joseph. Some say he was Jesus’ maternal uncle. But, the Bible has not made any such connection. Also, it is said that Joseph made trips to Britain to trade and is also supposed to be one of the people who brought gospel to them. But, all we can say for sure is that he was a rich man and gave his tomb to Jesus who then rose from the dead three days later.