Today’s Reading: Matthew 27:57-66
The Burial of Jesus
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
The Guard at the Tomb
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead”, and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. (NRSV)
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. Jesus is dead and buried. Joseph of Arimathea has provided a good burial with linens and spices for the body. A new tomb, hewn from the rock holds the body and a large stone has been rolled against the entrance. All is set. All is well. All is as well as it can be when someone we love has died.
Mary and Mary sit by the grave. How often do we get this far and stop? The story of Jesus is great. There are twists and turns and intrigue. Jesus teaches with wonderful parables and he says the most enigmatic things. He was a great teacher indeed. But, if that is all we let Jesus be for us, we will always be sitting at the tomb.
To take your life to the next level you have to actually put your trust in Jesus. You have to cherish him as the revelation of God’s love. You have to trust that Jesus and the Holy Spirit will guide your life to great rewards if you just put your trust, faith and love in Jesus. Jesus offers us a new kind of life that is profoundly better than the life we already have. The life we already have is, at best, sitting at the tomb of a dead teacher. The life Jesus offers is resurrection life.
Give your heart to Jesus and devote yourself to following him and something new and wonderful happens. The earth quakes and the tomb rolls away and the tomb where the teacher laid is empty. If you are looking for meaning, purpose and joy, Jesus has all that to offer.
Don’t just wait at the tomb. Resurrection life can be yours.
Questions: What needs resurrecting in your life? What makes it hard to turn this over to God and trust that God will bring you, too, through death to new life?
Prayer: Lord God, remind us of your presence with us when we stumble, suffer, or are afraid in any way. Give us strength, courage, and peace, and help us to be an encouragement and sign of life to others. Amen.