True Disciples of Jesus Christ

I have two more True Disciples of Jesus Christ to share. I think these two men would easily be missed if we were not paying close attention.

The first is the Roman centurion at the foot of the Cross. The only words, we have on record from him are:

Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” Mark 15:39 & Mathew 27:54.

When I research this man, I learned that his name was Longinus. (I smiled because we may be related being my maiden name was Longenecker, I mean you know, sometimes names change through the years of translations!!!) He was a Roman soldier under the command of Governor Pontius Pilate. It was his detachment of soldiers that stood guard at the foot of the cross. His soldiers were the eyewitnesses of Jesus dying on the Cross. According to church tradition, it was Longinus who pierced the side of Christ. As Jesus’ blood and water poured out a splatter hit Longinus in the eye and healed him of an eye ailment. Longinus and his company of soldiers are the group that also stood guard at the tomb. The Jews came and offered him and his comrades great sums of gold to lie and say Jesus’ disciples came and stole the body after it was learned Jesus had risen from the dead. Longinus and two others refused to lie and started to spread the good news of Jesus rising from the dead. The three men decided to leave the military and be baptized. Longinus left the area and returned home to Cappadocia, modern-day Turkey to tell of Jesus.

Christianity spread quickly in the area and when Pilate learned of this he send his soldiers to kill the three preachers. When Longinus found the soldiers had arrived in his town, he went out to meet them and invited them to his home for a meal after visiting and eating together Longinus introduced himself as the very man they had come to kill. They told the soldiers to go ahead and do their duty. The soldiers told them to flee. They refused because they believed in Jesus and were willing to suffer for Him. They were beheaded and buried right on the spot. Longinus’ head was taken back to Pilate. Pilate had the head thrown on the trash heap outside the city for all to see.  

A blind woman came with her son to Jerusalem. Her son was her guide and caretaker. The boy became sick shortly after they arrived and died. The woman was lost and didn’t know what to do but Longinus came to her in a dream and comforted her by saying she would see her son again in heavenly glory and she would regain her sight. He told her to go to the trash heap outside the city and she would find his head there. Friends showed her the way to the heap and once there she began to dig and the moment her hands touched Longinus’ head she regained her sight.

The woman took the head home and washed it and that night Longinus came to her once again in a dream this time with her son, both surrounded in a great light. He said, “Woman, behold the son for whom you grieve. See what glory and honor are his now and be consoled. God has numbered him with those in His heavenly Kingdom. Now take my head and your son’s body and bury them in the same casket. Do not weep for your son, for he will rejoice forever in great glory and happiness.”  (Orthodox Church in America)

She took the head back home to Cappadocia and buried it along with her son’s body. She regained her sight and great joy knowing she would see her son once again in Heavenly glory.

St. Longinus is the patron saint of the blind and the city of Mantua, Italy.

The second True Disciple of Jesus is found in all four gospels, Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph was a very rich man and a member of the Sanhedrin. Being a member meant he was part of the temple party that controlled the priesthood and had political power with authority under Roman rule.

Joseph asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body. Pilate came him permission and Joseph brought a linen shroud and went to Golgotha and remove the body of Jesus from the cross and wrap the body in the linen. Joseph had help from a man named Nicodemus. He brought the spices. They then moved the wrapped body to a cave hewn from rock in a garden of his house nearby. In Matthew, we read the tomb was intended to be Joseph’s own tomb. All the preparations were done in a hurry because the Sabbath was rapidly approaching.

I found several bits and pieces of Joseph, some known as legends.

  • Joseph and Nicodemus were the only two of the Sanhedrin not to vote to put Jesus to death.
  • Joseph was known to be a very rich tin merchant. He had many tin mines in Britain and traveled back and forth.
  • In the 12th century, Joseph is linked to King Arthur and the Holy Grail. According to Legends Joseph was at the last supper and secretly kept the cup. When he and Nicodemus took down the body of Jesus a drop of blood dripped into the cup. Later, in a dream, Jesus appeared to Joseph and told him to take care of the cup. Once when Joseph was imprisoned every day a dove appeared and dropped a wafer into the cup and this was Joseph’s nourishment.
  • Joseph was Mary’s uncle, a great-uncle to Jesus.
  • Along with the Holy Grain is the legend Joseph brought a vial of Jesus’ blood and a vial of his sweat from while he was on the cross with him to Britain.
  • Joseph is credited with building the first Christian churches in Britain.
  • Joseph’s staff is placed near Glastonbury and it turned into the Glastonbury thorn tree that blossoms only at Christmas and Easter.
  • Another legend tells of Joseph using the cup to provide food in the form of fish.
  • When Joseph died at the age of 86 years old, six bishops carried his body in the funeral procession.
  • St. Joseph is the patron saint of morticians and undertakes.
St. Longinus
St. Joseph of Arimathea

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