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Chapter 7 Explanation of Scriptures

"He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus" (Luke 23:52, written on 2 January 1844).

1. Here again, you have the free choice to quote such a central sun from the book of life; and so, choose a text!

2. "He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus."

3. You have the text; but I cannot help it if you choose texts that fit right on our agenda!

4. Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of the Lord, which was also given to him by Pilate.

5. This Joseph of Arimathea was a friend of Nicodemus, and did so more in the good name of his friend than in his own. For Nicodemus was a great secret worshiper of Christ, but he dared not do something quite obviously, for a certain fear of the chief priests and Pharisees; so he transferred this to his friend, who was also a great friend of Christ, but in secret. This brief prognostic is necessary to make the following clearer.

6. So how does this text, and even this little event, fit in with our cause?

7. Imagine yourselves under 'Nicodemus', the hidden love of the Lord; but under 'Joseph of Arimathea', imagine the faith in the Lord!

8. What is the belief in relation to love? - He is the handyman! So also, Joseph of Arimathea was a handyman here of the secretive Christ-loving Nicodemus.

9. What did the faith demand of Pilate? He demanded the corpse of the Lord, and when he had taken it from the cross, wrapped it in white linen, after anointing the body with delicious spices, and then laid it in a fresh rock-tomb in his own garden, in which grave still no one was laid.

10. What does all this signify? All this signifies the curiosity of faith in its satisfaction. This noble curiosity seeks everything imaginable in order to find a living satisfaction in it.

11. It goes to Pilate and asks permission; that says so much as: Such curiosity goes to the world and seeks in it everything possible, which could serve to confirm the truth.

12. If it has received from the world everything it sought, then it turns to the crucified One. But how? It seeks to put all words and explanations into the light, and then to free it from the mysterious apparent contradictions that appear in the Holy Scriptures.

13. This is enough for him too; it has properly freed the corpse from the cross, which in its form is just a contradiction. But what does he, this noble curiosity, now have before him? - See, a dead corpse in which there is no life!

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