'Joseph of Arimathea: 7 Traits of a Kingdom Influencer' Helen Calder
Updated: Apr 10
Are you called to be a Kingdom influencer? I believe these insights from the story of Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene will stir you. God wants you to know that His chosen legacy for you is beyond what you ever dreamed. And your influence, anointed by the Holy Spirit, is set to increase.
7 Traits of a Kingdom Influencer
From the story of Joseph of Arimathea
At a critical moment, Joseph of Arimathea turned from a secret disciple into a courageous influencer [1,2]. He boldly requested the body of Jesus from Pilate, after the crucifixion. And then he, with Nicodemus’ help, buried Jesus reverently in his own tomb—setting the scene for the resurrection to come. This is a man who stepped onto the stage of history, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, and his character and love for Jesus inspire us today. Here are 7 traits of a Kingdom influencer, inspired by his life:
1. Divinely Positioned
Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Jewish council; a Jewish leader who did not go along with those who conspired to murder Jesus. We also know he was wealthy and had influence in high places. His wealth and position were a gift from God—and he was in that place of influence for a reason.
And when the time came, Joseph of Arimathea was ready to sacrificially offer up his reputation, wealth, and position, to serve His Lord. For all along, Joseph of Arimathea was Divinely positioned by God.
2. Courage to be Different
Joseph of Arimathea was “waiting for the kingdom of God” and was known to be a good and just man. But there was a tension in his life, for he was a secret disciple of Jesus. Perhaps his own conversations with Jesus were like those of Nicodemus and he learned the way of salvation (John 3) And like Nicodemus, he did not fit into the usual pattern of Jesus’ apostles or wider circle of followers. Neither did he fit into the community of Jewish leaders he was a part of. John tells us that he was a disciple of Jesus “secretly, for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38).
3. Takes Action at the Pivotal Moment
While Jesus was alive, Joseph of Arimathea did not draw the attention of those around him to his faith in Christ. But when the time came to act, he showed no fear of repercussions or exposure. He approached Pilate boldly, to ask for Jesus’ body.
Pilate expressed surprise that Jesus had passed so soon, which tells us that Joseph knew of the time of Jesus’ death and acted immediately. So, while he is not listed as an onlooker, he was certainly in the wings, ready to receive the news. And to act.
4. Fulfills God’s Purpose
Joseph of Arimathea could not stop the terrible event of the crucifixion from taking place. Still, he buried his beloved Master in dignity, in his own, prepared but unused tomb—a wealthy man’s burial cave, situated in a garden. And so, Joseph of Arimathea fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus:
“He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.” (Isaiah 53:9 NLT)
5. A Heart for Stewardship
It’s one of the most unusual gifts you could imagine! But Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb happened to be nearby the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. It was pristine and unused. This tells us that God chose Joseph of Arimathea ahead of time—and that in the preparation of that burial site, Joseph was moved by the Holy Spirit.
God gave Joseph wealth and influence, and a gift for stewardship. And he used it to serve Jesus in the offering of a tomb. And so, the burial place that once belonged to Joseph of Arimathea became a testament to the glory of God—the scene for Christ’s resurrection.
6. A Passionate Contributor
In the short time that Joseph and Nicodemus had available, they methodically covered Jesus’ body in fine linen strips, along with the spices that Nicodemus brought (see John’s account). They had to move quickly, for a sacred day in the Jewish calendar was only hours away. The women were nearby, standing opposite the tomb, watching to see where they laid Him—for they had their own plans to prepare Jesus’ body with burial spices.
The name “Joseph” means “adding…let him add…or “Jehovah has added” (Strong’s H3130) So, Joseph of Arimathea was named for his contribution—and will be known in eternity for the part he played. 
7. They Outlast the Crowd
When Jesus was buried, others who had walked with Him were nowhere to be seen. Many disciples had fled into hiding. When it mattered most, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, and the other faithful Mary, were still present. They outlasted the crowd, and their sacrificial love and faith were rewarded.
From Hidden to History-Maker
And so it was, that Joseph, and Nicodemus alongside him, became the final people to view the lifeless, broken body of Jesus.
And Mary Magdalene—who among others, had watched the activity of Joseph and Nicodemus from nearby, returned on the third day, to become the first to see Jesus as Risen Savior!
(Interestingly, Joseph and Mary were present at His birth—and at His death and resurrection, a different Joseph and Mary are a part of the Gospel story).
Mary Magdalene also becomes an “unexpected influencer”, being the first evangelist to bear the Good News, after Jesus’ resurrection
And this is a reminder, that Jesus delights to raise up those the world least expects. Likewise, you also have been chosen by God for His purposes.
The Sign of the Empty Tomb
What Joseph of Arimathea did was in secret, but it has been made known to all throughout history, and recorded in Scripture! It’s a reminder that Heaven’s viewpoint is different from ours. He became an unexpected influencer who was central at that historical moment.
Henceforth, Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb would become known as “the empty tomb”.
The Mystery of Joseph of Arimathea
So, what happened to Joseph of Arimathea? And what did he make of the events surrounding Jesus’ resurrection? His tomb—his property—became the focus of a scandal and an investigation.
His life may have been endangered, with pressures to come. Did he see Jesus after the resurrection? Was Joseph of Arimathea present on the day of Pentecost? We are not told in the New Testament.
But we can glean a great deal from this snapshot. For his story is recorded—not only to complete the Gospel and describe the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy—his story is there for us.
And I believe the Lord is highlighting it right now because he is raising up many “Josephs” and “Marys” in our day. For God is calling His unexpected influencers out of hiding—and they are going to shake the world.
Joseph of Arimathea’s Legacy and Yours
Finally, I believe someone is reading this, who has sought to be faithful to the legacy God has given you. Some dreams and ministry, you thought you had left behind. But these will come to the forefront, you will see how the pieces fit into place.
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ—the most powerful event in history—and here, hidden at the heart of it, is a humble yet bold influencer.
Perhaps you have felt that the past disqualifies you, or you have felt hidden away. Or, you may relate to being stuck in a prolonged season of reset. God wants you to know that you are not “on the shelf”. He is preparing you for unexpected influence. And this is your season of resurrection.
Leave a Comment Can you relate to this snapshot from the story of Joseph of Arimathea? This story has inspired my husband and me this week and we’ve had quite animated conversations about it, on our evening walks. I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment or your prayer requests in the comments box below.
Notes:  Further study: Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42 Also, John 3—Jesus’ conversations with Nicodemus give us an insight into his relationship with Joseph of Arimathea, a peer (and likely friend) of Nicodemus.  Arimathea: sometimes spelled Arimathaea – ref Strong’s G707 from H7414 meaning heights (a location in Palestine)
This OIl will Cease on May 1