“Jesus dies as a criminal, but is buried in honor.”
The description of Joseph comes as a surprise:
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. (vv. 50-51a)
If the run up to Jesus’ death is filled with betrayal and unfaithfulness, even before the resurrection, we begin to see faith. Joseph, in an echo of Jesus’ discussion with the thief on the cross, was waiting for the kingdom:
He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. (v. 51b)
We are not told everything, but there seems to be something of a right response to Jesus’ death here. Joseph may not have understood exactly what would happen the following morning, but he believed that there was more to come. And he was not alone.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (vv. 55-56)
Again, we do not know exactly what they expected, but we do know, that they had not fled like many others. The death of Jesus calls for faith and calls out faith. Easter Saturday, is often a quiet day, as we wait for the Easter Morning, perhaps more so this year. But as these examples show us, such quietness, when all is done, can be a chance for quiet, yet confident faith in Jesus, and what he has achieved for us.
And even here, we see that after the rejection prior to the cross, the cross itself is to bring a greater kingdom: “The confession of a Gentile centurion (v. 47) and kindness of a Jewish Council member (vv. 50–51)—both offices that typically opposed Jesus—may foreshadow the saving effects of Jesus’ death for both Gentiles and Jews.” We could add the women.
And even today, as we contemplate these events, we can receive them by faith:
“…there is something poetically theological about the way [Luke] frames his whole Gospel. His story of Jesus’ life begins with him being cared for by a man named Joseph, who places him in a borrowed resting place, in which no baby had ever been laid. It ends with Jesus being cared for again by a man named Joseph, who lays him in another borrowed resting place, where no man had ever been laid. The story has come full circle; another Joseph has received Christ into his heart and life.”
What will your response be today? Quiet confident faith?
Lord, into the death of whose dear Son our Saviour Jesus Christ we have been baptized, grant that we may continually put to death our sinful desires and be buried with him so that we may pass through the grave and gate of death to our joyful resurrection through the merits of him who died, was buried and rose again for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Sinclair B. Ferguson. To Seek and to Save (Kindle Locations 1474-1479).