Jesus had died. There was an emptiness to the world that was hard to describe. A loneliness that seemed to have no end. How could life go on as usual? Imagine the despair that was coupled with fear. I imagine the disciples thought they might be next because of their associations with Jesus. Did any of Jesus’ friends remember his words that he would rise on the third day? For today, let’s also put that knowledge aside. Like Jesus’ followers then, let us be lost in our grief.
Then there was Joseph. A secret follower of Jesus. He had a position on the high council of all things. What would the others think of him now? He boldly came forward and asked for Jesus’ body. He took great care to place Jesus in a fresh tomb. His respect was evident. He had put his reputation on the line here. What would the fallout for that be? Joseph didn’t care. He had been waiting for the Kingdom of God. He had found Jesus, the King himself.
The women were watching. They wanted to have access to Jesus’ body to anoint him as was their custom. We think of the embalming process today. They had seen where Jesus was laid so that they could return when their spices and oils were ready. But they ran out of time.
It was now the Sabbath, a time to rest and reflect. God designed the Sabbath so we could reconnect with him. The women were obedient to the law and rested. Their trip to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body for his final resting place would have to wait. What do you suppose they thought about. Do you think they were just numb with what had happened? After all, only a few short days ago there had been such a celebration. People used to flock around Jesus and worship him for his mighty acts and loving kindness.
Think of the stories you treasure most about Jesus. These can be stories from the Bible or examples of how he has touched your life. As Christ-followers, we have a special connection. Our relationship with God is possible because of what Jesus has done. Now imagine you would never see him again. Imagine it was all over and what remains was only heartache and struggle. This might be a fraction of what Jesus’ followers were feeling as they mourned.
As you spend time in quiet reflection today, ask what does Jesus’ death mean to me? Think, too, about your relationship with Jesus. Are you like Joseph, a secret follower? When other people look at your life do they recognize you as a Christ-follower? Do you hide your faith or boldly proclaim? I want to live my faith out loud so people can see. I want God to get the credit for my positive attitude, how I glow with the fire of the spirit burning inside. I want to get to a place where I am never uncomfortable about my faith.
Perhaps you’re like the women, totally devoted and following the law closely. Rule breakers are definitely more common these days. It seems like everyone has a selfish ambition or two. These women could have ignored the law and gone back to anoint Jesus right away. Seeing Jesus’ dead body would be hard. Maybe they were relieved that they could take a day to rest and just be separate from the horror for a bit.
Don’t rush past this day. Let your time of reflection go longer than normal. Let Jesus know how you feel about what he did. Did deep to find those hidden emotions that may need to be exposed. Jesus can heal you. Jesus did all of this just for you.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you that I can rest in you and your will for me. Refresh my soul. Prepare me for what you have for me to do this day. May I not let doubt or fear creep in. Help me to stand strong yet humble. I want people to see me as your follower. In Jesus’ name. Amen.