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Joseph of Arimathea

Joseph of Arimathea

by Brian Mellor

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History seems to have placed Joseph of Arimathea too far back in the shadow of Jesus. It is my belief that it was he who influenced Jesus's life the most. This is a story of that man, whose relationship, mentoring, and guiding Jesus, led to his greatness. Joseph as Jesus's uncle very likely took over as head of the family upon the death of Jesus's father. Joseph had


History seems to have placed Joseph of Arimathea too far back in the shadow of Jesus. It is my belief that it was he who influenced Jesus's life the most. This is a story of that man, whose relationship, mentoring, and guiding Jesus, led to his greatness. Joseph as Jesus's uncle very likely took over as head of the family upon the death of Jesus's father. Joseph had all the credentials and means, a wealthy merchant with great influence in Rome and in his own community. A member of the assembly of high judges, which made the laws and meted out punishment, appointed Minister of Mines to Rome, a man who must have associated with the likes of Caesar, Pontius Pilate, and Herod. He placed his career, his life and that of his family in jeopardy by his close association with Jesus. He and Jesus had much to lose for the ideas and beliefs they projected. I believe that their message was much more than spiritual belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing God. I believe the message had much to do with liberty and freedom, which was suppressed under both Rome and the religious establishment of the time, all this, is not unlike the issues we are witnessing in Asia today.

Editorial Reviews

BlueInk Reviews
"A well written book in terms of narrative. Readers who appreciate a new look at a traditional religious narrative will enjoy this book.

Mellor's tale incorporates facts directly from the bible, yet places them into an entirely different framework. Jesus is kind and loving, as one would expect, but is largely the puppet of the men who have determined his destiny. Characters historically deemed as traitors, such as Judas and Pontius Pilate, have their stories reworked so they are supporters of the Messianic plot."

Product Details

Trafford Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.13(d)

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Joseph of Arimathea

By Brian Mellor

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2012 Brian Mellor
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4669-5395-6

Chapter One

Joseph of Arimathea

"Hold it out with your left hand, like this. You must hold the net out of the water. Now watch me cast it." The Great Sea was rough today. The waves that rolled in slapped against Josephes's small body, keeping him fighting for his balance, laughing all the while as each wave tried to push him over backward. "That's it," I encouraged him, "you've got it now. Wait now, don't start pulling on the draw cord until the weights take the net to the bottom."

"Now, Father, can I pull it in now?" young Josephes called.

"Yes, pull it in. Pull in that net in the same manner as your fathers before have done for a thousand years." The net gave Josephes some difficulty as he struggled to draw it to him.

"Look, look, I have caught some fish!" the boy shouted.

"Pull it up to the shore, and let's see what you have. Anna, come down and have a look at what your brother has caught."

"I don't want her too close to the water, Joseph," cried Helena.

"Don't worry, I'll keep a watch for her," I cried back, moving closer to little Anna. Josephes by this time had landed the net, which held three flapping fish. His eyes were wide with delight, and he had an excited look on his face.

"Look, Father, look what I have caught!" he shouted, jumping up and down.

"That will make a wonderful lunch," I said, picking up Anna. "Bring the fish up to the fire, and we will get them ready."

Helena had been keeping everything ready for our small feast. I said the prayers and prepared the fish while all watched silently. It was Succoth, the time of year for reflecting on ancient times. Josephes always liked the stories I told, even if they were repeated time and again. As Helena cooked the fish, Josephes asked, "Tell me, Father—tell me about the time when you were a boy."

"You want to hear that again?" I asked.

"Yes, and Anna wants to hear too, don't you, Anna?"

Anna nodded her head, smiling as she always did.

"Very well," I began. "It was in Arama where I lived with three older brothers and three older sisters. Each older brother and sister took turns ensuring that I obeyed, washed frequently, did my tasks, and studied hard. Each one was a father or a mother to me."

Helena served the fish, and we began to eat.

"Don't stop now," said little Anna.

"Very well," I continued. "We are of the House of Aaron, a very important family dating back to the kings of the Israelites. You must always remember this and make sure that you tell your children of this. For we are held in high regard and must act accordingly."

"I will, Father, but tell me about your real mother and father," Josephes replied.

"I will. I will get around to that, but first let me tell you about my older brother Joachim. He, being the eldest, took over the affairs of our house and our father's business when our parents died. We were in the business of making dishes, oil lamps, and urns that were traded all over the world. We had many visitors to our house, and I would sit and listen to the different languages and dialects spoken by the traders as their caravans stopped on their way to the rest of the world. This created a great longing inside of me, for I too wanted to see the rest of the world and travel with them. I remember the many times Joachim would take me with him to Jerusalem, leaving Arama before dawn, wagons loaded down with our wares. The ass baying his morning hello, waking everyone. As we headed toward Jerusalem, we would reach the crest of the road, and I would always look back just as the sun placed a golden halo over the twin hills on either side of Arama. Joachim always told me that God took special care to bless this city and all who live between those golden halos. Sometimes I would linger too long, and my brothers would tease me, 'Come, Joseph, else you will become solid as a rock in the middle of the road.'

"We would walk all morning, arrive in Jerusalem before the sun was high. My brothers would send me off to the temple to listen to the teachers while they set up the stall and sold our wares. I much preferred this to sitting in the market haggling over the price of a few plates. When I got back at dusk, my brothers always insisted I tell them what the teachers said that day. Sometimes I would make up my own stories, and they never caught on to that. It was my little joke on them. When I grew older, I decided that it was time for me to make my own way in life. So with the blessing of my brothers and sisters, I decided to go to Berytus. That is where I met Saul, your grandfather, who took me in, and I became attached to him as my mentor. When I married your mother, Saul helped me get started in my own business of trading goods."

"But what about your mother and father?" Josephes asked.

"Oh yes, well, one day, when I was about Anna's age, Romans came into our city, taking anything they wanted. When people resisted, they were killed. Both my mother and father were killed that day. Father tried to stop one of them and was stabbed through the heart. When mother saw this, she rushed to him and was stabbed as well. This is what I was told, as I and my brothers and sisters had been taken out into the hills and hidden. When we returned to our house after the Romans had left, we found them together, dead. Many others died that day, and it is well remembered. These are just a few of the things that you must remember, never forget. You must promise me that you will tell all your children of the things that I tell you so that they are never lost."

"I will, Father. I will always remember these things. If you tell me more, I will remember those things as well."

"Tomorrow, my son. That's enough for today; it's getting dark now. Come on, Anna, pack up all your things. Come and help me, Josephes." Helena had already gathered up most of our things as the sun was dropping and the air was cooling. "Do not leave that net, Josephes. Bring it up here." We made our way up the hill to home.

Tomorrow came, and I sat idly looking out at the Phoenician ships on the Great Mediterranean Sea. The beautiful blue waters lapping against the bows, wind billowing the sails, hardly a cloud in the sky—such sights brought warmth to my heart. These were ships under my orders, heading to Britannia to pick up more tin for the Romans. It had been a week now since my arrival home after three months of traveling. The tin business was very good. It had brought much wealth to me and had secured independence for my family. Being home with my wife, Helena, and my eleven-year-old son, Josephes, was a blessing for me like no other—and my daughter, Anna, sweet Anna, just like her mother. I would be lost without her. It had been three years now since we moved here from Berytus. I decided to move because of the continual unrest in that city. Sidon and Tyre were considered, but they were not much better than Berytus. Joppa, it seemed, was not on anyone's map of contention; it was peaceful, with very little crime, good schools, and a Jewish center. I kept thinking back to what my father told me about the wars. Some of this was handed down to him from his father and his father before him. This was our custom, to relate happenings from one son to the next.


"Yes, Josephes."

"Will you tell me some more stories of long ago?"

"I was just thinking of some now, as you walked in. Come over here and sit by me. There now. I was just thinking of Berytus, where your grandfather, Saul, lives. Berytus has been in the midst of one conflict after another. It seems that with each generation, the city is almost destroyed by one army or another. Two thousand years of conflict has been wrought upon Berytus, and I decided that it was nearing the time when the next conflict would begin. You see, it began sixteen hundred years ago when a Semitic, nomadic people called Hyksos conquered the area. Then Egypt waged a war lasting hundreds of years. Babylon then ruled this area, dominating the Phoenicians again. Those poor Phoenicians, always ruled by someone. Achaemenides ended the Babylonian rule over the area, and then came Alexander the Great, who waged war on the Persian Empire, and then the Roman Empire under Tiberius Claudius Nero.

"Nero, just a few short years ago, decided to withdraw from public life and went to live on Rhodes with some personal friends and an astrologer. It is said that his wife so embarrassed him that he just left. He is now back in public life, appointed by Augustus. I had an audience with him last time I was in Rome.

"There seems to be great dispute as to who should rule us. The armies of Rome have been divided into smaller camps, and unrest has been felt. The soldiers are not happy with the way they have been treated. Their housing is poor compared to what they have been promised, and their pay—which comes from the royal treasury—has not been sufficient to meet their needs. Augustus does not want Rome to expand the existing empire, and the Roman soldiers do not care much for this, as they were allowed to keep plunder from their victims. This made some Roman soldiers very rich, but now those monies have been squandered, and they are looking for a country to invade. The Roman Empire is in somewhat of an upheaval now. I am happy that I moved my family to this small coastal town away from Berytus, as every time a war starts, that city is in the middle of it. I have to admit that it has one of the most beautiful coastlines that I have ever seen ... but here in Joppa, we also enjoy a very nice coastline, and we have very few destitute souls. Unlike Berytus, where there are numerous people who beg. They need something or someone to believe in, to lift them out of their despair and give them hope. I see no one who has the influence to take on this task. I do what I can through our religious order. Many of my ships are anchored in Berytus, as it is a major trading center. Items such as cedar, perfume, jewelry, wine, and fruit are exported from this port. I have tried to put these destitute people to work, but they have no ambition. It is this commerce that I hope will bring these poor souls out of poverty. As a judge of the Jewish assembly, I can aid many with the resources at our disposal, but the numbers keep swelling each year. Many of my fellow judges feel frustrated as I do, at times, with the lack of aid from our Roman leaders; it has been a difficult problem. Some of the high priests who control much of the money seem to keep it for lavish temple ornaments, bigger temples, finer clothes for services. I see very little funding going toward craft training or housing or encouraging self-sufficiency.

"Throughout all the years of strife in and around Berytus, the Phoenicians have always adapted to the cultures that have taken over their lands; they have been very resourceful. I see Phoenicians who always seem to take something and improve upon it. They are wonderful craftsmen. Here in Joppa, for instance, the Phoenicians have developed the most wonderful purple dye that lasts much longer than the older dyes and is used to adorn garments that are sought by many people of all cultures. It is this dye I was hoping to add to my trading with Britannia on my next trip. Look, Josephes, even you wear some of this dye. So you see, Josephes, you must not let our people forget these things. Learn them and give your children the history of our people."

"I will, Father. I will remember these things."

Chapter Two

The Message

I sat reading the message as a cool breeze washed across the land. It was now autumn, and the last hot days of summer had left. I was gazing out across the waters of the Mediterranean. The winds grew quite strong. I watched as the fishermen methodically repaired their nets and readied their boats. This was the kind of day for just such a chore. The normally blue waters had taken on a grayish hue that matched my saddened heart. The arrival of news from my niece Mary was disturbing. Joseph, her husband, was dying. Could I come as soon as possible? While my servants made the necessary arrangements, my thoughts traced back over the years. Joseph, an able carpenter of good moral strength, had lost his ability to work and provide for his family over the last seven years. It was at this time I spoke to the council of judges and the Sanhedrin priests. They came to help Mary, and all her needs were met. This allowed her to remain quite comfortably in the house that Joseph built. The Sanhedrin assembly always kept a watch over this family to provide for and protect, while educating Mary's eldest boy, Jesus. He had become a concern due to his harassing the priests and teachers; they said he was an upstart and a troublemaker. He was always questioning their teachings and authority, and asking questions that they could not answer. It seemed that the Sanhedrin priests were having trouble grooming him for his life to come. Should Joseph pass on, I knew that my part in those lives must grow. It was with this in mind that I decided to take along my son Josephes, as he was but one year older than Jesus and could console the others on the passing of their father.

"Father, Father, I am ready, and the carriage is packed. Hurry."

"All right, my son, I'm on my way." I could hear the asses stomping their feet and snorting eagerly as they pulled on the harness, with Morris saying, "Whoa, whoa now."

"Master Josephes is ready and eager for your departure, as you can see," said Cecil. "Levi and Marium wait below in the courtyard. I am glad, sire, that you are taking Morris with you as well."

"Thank you for your concern, Cecil." I turned to my wife. "Helena, my love, I know not when this ordeal will be over, but as we discussed, should Joseph die, Mary and the children must come here to live with us."

"Yes, I know, my husband. Tell her it is my wish that she come—for the sake of the children, at least. Our home is large enough to accommodate them."

We set off, waving good-bye to Helena and Anna. Josephes had packed special gifts for his cousins Jesus, James, Sara, and Jose, while Helena sent gifts for Mary and Joseph. It would take two days for us to reach our destination, and we would travel by all the busiest routes in order to avoid those who might wish to take advantage of our small party. The Roman legions would give us some assurance along the way, as they knew me as a friend to the Roman emperor in waiting, Tiberius who was quite ruthless to those who did not call him friend. Yet always true to his word and convictions. We set off, taking the inland road.

We could still see the Mediterranean occasionally on our left as we worked our way past lush green forests and farms. We could see Mount Gerizim far off to the right, with its brown barren landscape. The rugged terrain and uphill climb would tire the animals, as the road was not good for wagons. Roman garrisons met us and guided us along on our journey toward Nazareth. They were on another mission but bid us to join them as far as Hadera. They were sure that other Roman soldiers would be available to accompany us to our destination, for the way was well-traveled.

Many thoughts went through my mind as we made our way. I was thinking of the very successful year that had just brought much wealth to me, supplying tin and lead to Europe and Rome. These past eleven years, I had spent much time away from my family. Many crossings to Land's End and many dealings with the Dumnonian tin miners and Durotrigian lead miners, sailing through the Mediterranean Sea to my other home in Marseilles, and then across the land to La Manche and over to Land's End on those very able Phoenician vessels. I was sorry to have left Joppa on this occasion, as I was looking forward to spending time with my family and had made arrangements long ago for this purpose. This other duty arrived without much warning and changed all that.


Excerpted from Joseph of Arimathea by Brian Mellor Copyright © 2012 by Brian Mellor. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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