Day 7: Jesus’ Body is Taken Down From the Cross
Mark 15:42-47 (ESV)
And when evening had come, 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 looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
Isnatched up my phone the instant I heard my husband’s text tone, eager for an update. Amid a months-long, chaotic and painful transition at work, involving the department he led being merged with another, today he would finally learn if he had been chosen to lead the new, combined department.
Staring at my phone in disbelief, I felt like I’d like been punched in the gut as the answer we weren’t expecting tried to penetrate my brain. Wait, what? My husband had spent years growing and building this department, pouring into his team and their mission. And now he had to give it all up and look for a position elsewhere.
As Joseph of Arimathea carefully took Jesus’ broken body down from the cross and reverently wrapped it in the linen shroud, I can imagine his stunned disbelief. He had invested time following Jesus, seeking answers, hoping that He truly was the Messiah, the Savior of Israel. And now it was over.
I imagine Joseph had been waiting all afternoon, holding his breath, for Jesus to throw off death as easily as He’d done it for Lazarus, to surprise the mocking crowd by coming down from the cross, fully alive and victorious. As the finality of His last breath sunk in, he must have been so devastated, so confused. Wait, what?
In our Easter celebrations, we typically go straight from the cross to the grave and the triumph of Resurrection. After all, the good news of Easter is that He is alive! Death is defeated! We don’t remain in the pain of that Sabbath day, that numb shock of a world turned upside down in the worst way possible. Who wants to linger in the agony of Saturday’s shattered dreams, when we know that Sunday is coming?
Jesus’ followers only had to spend a short while in their sorrow and despair. But when our world is rocked to the core by the unexpected, we don’t often get resolution on the third day. Even when we are convinced that God is good and that His purposes will prevail, the uncertainty, the loss, the devastation we feel can stretch the threads of our hope to its outer-most limits.
How do we keep moving forward when the pain of our disappointment seems too much to bear? Like Joseph, we take courage. We do the next thing. We hope. We cry. We pray. We wait. Until tomorrow.
Day 8: Jesus is Resurrected!
Matthew 28:1-10 (ESV) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the...
Easter is the celebration of all celebrations! Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death and is raised to life. The resurrection of Jesus is not some legend that has been passed down through the ages meant to give us an excuse for another holiday. In Easter we see the...
Day 6: Jesus Dies
Mark 15:33-35 (ESV) And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of...
Day 5: Jesus’ Garments Are Divided
John 19:23-25 (ESV) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not...
Day 4: Jesus and Simon Are Made to Carry the Cross
John 19:17 (ESV) and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. Matthew 27:32-34 (ESV) As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And...
Day 3: Jesus is Mocked and Tortured
Matthew 27:27-31 (ESV) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his...
Day 2: Jesus is Condemned
Matthew 27:15-26 (ESV) Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for...
Day 1: Jesus is Arrested and Tried
Mark 15:1-5 (ESV) And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And...
A Hallelujah Holiday
Keeping the Savior at the CenterWhen many of us think Easter, egg hunts and chocolate bunnies immediately come to mind. True, many of today’s Easter festivities focus more around the coming of spring than the resurrection of our Savior, but the heart of the holiday...