Scripture: A reading from the Gospel of Mark (15:42-47)
When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw where the body was laid.
There is no fanfare. There is no viewing, no opportunities for family and friends to gather in a celebration of life. When all is said and done, Jesus’ body is removed from the cross and gently cared for by those who weren’t formally counted among the twelve as we have come to know them.
Joseph of Arimathea used his power and privilege to care for the body of Jesus. John’s Gospel (see John 19:38-42) also notes that Nicodemus, a Pharisee, brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing a hundred pounds. There are women who have remained nearby throughout this final journey marking where Jesus is laid so that they too can care for the One they loved.
We don’t have to be part of some inner circle to do something remarkable. Gifts are given by a generous, loving God, that we can use for God’s glory. All we need to remember is that God’s power working in us, no matter who we are, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. How will we show care and love to one who needs it in this moment?
Prayer: O God, creator of heaven and earth, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on the holy Sabbath, so may we await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BAS p. 320)