Feast of Saints Captain Lukianos, who believed in Christ’s Crucifixion; Joseph the Godfather; Joseph of Arimathea; Friends of Christ, Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary
The Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion (Captain Lukianos), a Roman soldier, served in Judea under the command of the Governor, Pontius Pilate. When our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified, it was the detachment of soldiers under the command of Longinus which stood watch on Golgotha, at the very foot of the holy Cross. Longinus and his soldiers were eyewitnesses of the final moments of the earthly life of the Lord, and of the great and awesome portents that appeared at His death. These events shook the centurion’s soul. Longinus believed in Christ and confessed before everyone, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54).
After the Crucifixion and Burial of the Saviour, Longinus stood watch with his company at the Sepulchre of the Lord. These soldiers were present at the Resurrection of Christ. The Jews bribed them to lie and say that His disciples had stolen away the Body of Christ, but Longinus and two of his comrades refused to be seduced by the Jewish gold. They also refused to remain silent about the miracle of the Resurrection.
Having come to believe in the Saviour, the soldiers received Baptism from the apostles and decided to leave military service. Saint Longinus left Judea to preach about Jesus Christ the Son of God in his native land (Cappadocia) and his two comrades followed him.
Joseph (also Joseph the Betrothed, Joseph of Nazareth, and Joseph the Worker), was born in Bethlehem.
God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus. The Bible tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, that Joseph was a righteous man. His actions toward Mary, his fiance, revealed that he was a kind and sensitive man. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do. He did not want to cause Mary further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph to verify Mary’s story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God’s will. Joseph willingly obeyed God, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. When Jesus was born, Jospeh married Mary and adopted the child Jesus as his own.
Joseph is last mentioned in Scripture when Jesus was 12 years old. We know that he passed on the carpentry trade to his son and raised him in the Jewish traditions and spiritual observances.
Joseph of Arimathea was a secret follower of Jesus because he feared the Jewish leaders. He is probably best known for asking Pilate for Jesus’ body and then placing it in his own tomb.
Even though Joseph of Arimathea had attempted to keep his love for Jesus a secret, he boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus to be placed in his trust. This is significant in and of itself. Joseph of Arimathea, not Mary, Jesus’ mother, not Mary Magdalene or any of the apostles were entrusted with the act of taking Jesus down from the cross. Most of the apostles had fled anyway. Joseph took the body and put it in his own tomb. According to various historical sources, Joseph’s actions provoked both the Roman and Jewish elders and he eventually spent time in prison for his support of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea appears in each of the four Gospels (Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-54 and John 19:38-42) specifically around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. He was a rich, honest, pious and fair man waiting for the Kingdom of God.
Lazarus was one of the few friends of Jesus Christ who is mentioned by name in the Gospels. We’re told Jesus loved him and stopped by his house in Bethany whenever he was visiting Jerusalem. Martha was Lazarus’ elder sister, active and hardworking and Mary, the junior sister, was a very pious woman.
Mary and Martha sent a messenger to Jesus to tell him their brother was sick. Instead of rushing to Lazarus’ bedside, Jesus remained where he was for two more days. When Jesus finally arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had been dead and in his tomb four days. Jesus ordered that the stone over the entrance be rolled away, then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
After Lazarus’ raising, a dinner was held to honour Jesus. It was at this point that Mary took a pint of pure nard (expensive perfume), poured it on Jesus’s feet and wiped them with her hair. As Judas voiced his displeasure at what he perceived was a waste of perfume, Jesus replied, “Leave her alone, the perfume was meant for the day I am buried. You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”
Jesus’ raising of Lazarus back to life marked a turning point. Some of the Jews who witnessed this miracle reported it to the Pharisees, who called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. They began to plot Jesus’ murder.
The account of Jesus raising Lazarus occurs only in the Gospel of John, the gospel that most strongly focuses on Jesus as the Son of God. Lazarus served as an instrument for Jesus to provide indisputable proof that he was the Saviour.