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Thursday, August 26, 2010

8/27/10- Mark 15:42-47 Burial of Jesus

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

(Interior of Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem- built around the site of the tomb of Jesus given by Joseph of Arimathea).

Thoughts: The burial of Jesus is important.  Ironically, it wasn't the disciples who buried the body, but Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Council that condemned him to death.  Joseph was boldly protesting their decision and also Pilate's sentence when he went to claim the body.  At this point he was not hoping for a resurrection, but was caring for a good teacher who had died.  That is a strong faith- faith without hope of reward and yet willing to face danger.  Yet, it is incomplete faith- for the reward and resurrection is real.  Today the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre (the tomb Joseph gave to Jesus) is the holiest site in all Christendom.  Millions visit it. His generosity and boldness is blessed.  See the tour at
But the tomb is empty.  Christ is alive- and hopes have a real basis. You may feel your hope is buried too.  But in Christ all are alive.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the faith of Joseph of Arimathea and of Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Jesus.  Give me grace to have faith when hope seems lost.

John Calvin abridged: The burial is more than a transition between death and resurrection.  It attests to his real death.  But it also is a sign that the cursing is beginning to be removed.  His body was not thrown into a ditch but hnonorably laid in a stone-carved tomb. There is great temptation for the rich to not be bold in faith lest they lose the respect of the people and their status.  But Joseph shows us what the Spirit of God can do.  If riches and honors do not aid us in our worship of Christ, we utterly abuse them. We should learn from Joseph's boldness.  Only the women saw where Jesus was placed.  Their boldness brought them honor later [at the resurrection].

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