Saturday – March 26, 2016
Day 46 – John 19:38-42
Focus: vss. 41-42
41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
We are at the crisis point in our narrative. Jesus is dead and about to be laid in a tomb. At that point the Jewish authorities want to make sure nothing extraordinary happens so they request a guard to be placed at the tomb. Ha, ha, ha, ha! Little did they know, huh? Actually no one alive really knew anything yet. Later on, oh yes! Some of these things we know because the other Gospels record them.
Most of you reading this have endured the sadness of the death of someone you love. It is never easily handled but must be borne in some manner. I, at age 7, was too young to really remember much about my mother at the time of her death so it did not seem to have a tremendous impact on me. My father and others who have died since then had a greater effect which I can strongly remember. I think in some ways it is the manner of death and the circumstances surrounding it that cause it have more of an impact. All deaths are traumatic with some being more so than others. I’m sure you are thinking of some of those who were close to you.
The death of Jesus had a great impact on His followers and on His family. The fact remained that He needed to be buried and quickly as the next few days were high holy days when they would be unable to do anything about a burial. So what did they do? Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took care of the situation. Jesus and the two thieves would likely have had their bodies thrown on the rubbish heap if left to the Romans. But, at the request of Joseph, Pilate gave permission for Jesus’ body to be taken down and buried. We are told that because of the time constraints laid on by the Jewish Passover and the need for preparation it was laid in a nearby new tomb.
We often sing at Easter the hymn, “Low In the Grave He Lay.” This is exactly what happened. This was likely the darkest time for all of Jesus’ followers. Even though Jesus told them what would happen they could not envision it. So here they are in one of the “dark nights of the soul” just trying to make it through somehow. Have you ever been there? You are just waiting until you get through this terrible thing. You just don’t know how you are going to make it but you still have it to go through. “Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior; Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord.”
Prayer Focus: Father God, just like those early disciples I have experienced the darkness and pain of loss. Just like them I have felt all alone. Just like them my faith has faltered. O God, strengthen me in those times. Lift my head up to see the glory of the Lord. May my eyes be fixed on eternal things and not on things of this earth? Thank you for hearing and responding to my needs in the past, right now and even into the future. AMEN.