We pick up where we left off in our last reflection, only from Luke’s perspective this time. The fact that the Roman officer had come to faith in Luke is powerful since it’s the concludes thought of our last reading (in Mark). Think about that for a minute. Who converted and worshiped God? A Roman? Seriously! That’s terrific.
Time passes quickly, and nightfall will soon usher in the Sabbath. Had Jesus’ executioners thought about what to do with the body? Or were they just so intent on getting rid of him permanently, they hadn’t figured out the next step in their plan? Thankfully, Joseph stepped up.
It was time for the women to start burial preparations for Jesus’ body. I was surprised to see that they were at Jesus’ death, only “at a distance.” It must have been too painful (or perhaps dangerous) to be closer. How their hearts must have been breaking!
The day before the Sabbath was called, Preparation Day, so it’s very fitting that Jesus’ body would need prepared for burial that day. But the women ran out of time and had to wait and rest on the Sabbath. Can you imagine what they were feeling? Besides the enormous feeling of loss from the death of their friend, they were dealing with being lost without a shepherd.
They hadn’t done a very good job of preparing for a life without Jesus. Could you even say they “took him for granted”? They were perhaps in denial, never imagining all of Jesus’ talk about his own death was actually true. Now what were they going to do? Have you ever felt at a loss for what you were going to do next?
Besides feeling hopeless, the women had to be feeling guilty they had not completed the task of caring for his body. What would they find a whole day and a half later? I would have been restless, but then I’m not Jewish and used to not working on the Sabbath. My Sabbath rest looks a lot different than that. I am not very good at sitting still for too long (unless I’m Netflix binging). But this Sabbath was different. Every day after this would be different.
It’s cool to be writing this seasonal reflection on the night the Passover actually begins at sundown. From my vantage point, sundown is within minutes. By the time I finish and publish this reflection, it will be the start of Passover 2022. Understanding our Jewish roots (even if we’re not Jewish) has a way of clarifying our Christian faith. I heard someone reference the difference to be something like regular TV vs. high-definition TV. It’s clearer, more defined, and you feel transported to actually be there!
As we prepare our hearts to receive the good news on Easter morning, take some sabbath rest today. Let that be how you honor Jesus and what he did for you. There may be laundry to do or dishes to wash. Leave it. Spend some quiet, reflective time with Jesus. Maybe you want to watch one of your favorite Christian movies. There are a lot of Holy Week specials filling up my inbox this year.
Don’t let your circumstances stop you from preparing your heart to welcome the risen Christ. You know it’s going to happen because you’ve heard how the story goes.
What if you didn’t? What if you had never heard about Jesus until now, and now he’s dead? You’d be feeling pretty bummed. He died way too soon. That’s how the disciples, the women, and even Joseph of Arimathea felt. They thought this was the end!
Find rest today. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you that we can rest in you. Thank you that I know what happens next. Help me not to rush on to the resurrection too quickly, but take time to reflect on the perfect act of love you did for me. Help me to be more like you. May my life reflect your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.