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There are two amazing men that we find in the opening and closing pages of the Gospel by John. The first was Nicodemus who comes to Jesus by night and hears the greatest verse in the Bible which was spoken to him. Every time you hear or say John 3.16 you are getting the Gospel according to Jesus from that night when Nicodemus came seeking Him.
The second was Joseph of Arimathea who comes from nowhere and rescues Christ’s body from being destroyed or desecrated so that it could not be buried. He shows up on the scene with everything needed to fulfill ancient prophecies, uttered 600 years previously by Isaiah – a rich man, with a new tomb, close enough to get Jesus buried in before sundown (to handle another prophecy of 3 days and nights).
The sheer magnitude of what these two men did in the plan of God is so often overlooked, and so we remember them tonight.
Several lessons can be drawn from their lives:
1. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. They didn’t preach, go on missionary journeys, or follow Jesus around. They prepared for Christ’s burial.
2. GIVE WHAT YOU CAN’T KEEP. They gave up their time, their future security, and their treasures. All of these are temporary whether we acknowledge it or not.
3. GAIN WHAT YOU CAN’T LOSE. Anything given to Christ lasts forever. Forever we will remember the borrowed Tomb and the faithfulness of these two men who risked everything for Someone they loved so dearly.
The great defining passage on the Gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Here, the Gospel is defined as the good news that —
• “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
• And that He was buried,
• and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
We are examining these three vital elements of the Gospel.