Reading: Matthew 27:57-66
Verses 59-60: “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb.”
As evening approaches Joseph of Arimathea gains permission to bury Jesus’ body. Normally the crucified would be buried in a slowly growing mass grave alongside the road. The Romans believed that was all a crucified criminal deserved. But Joseph thought differently. We read, “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb.” He cared for the body of the one he must’ve believed in. Joseph is not just some guy doing a random good deed.
In verse 61 we read that “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” were present while Joseph prepared and laid Jesus’ body in the tomb. Joseph was a ‘secret’ follower of Jesus. Being a member of the Jewish ruling council, he has to keep this quiet. So Mary and Mary were the only two of Jesus’ regular followers to stick around through the whole gruesome event. No disciples came to care for Jesus’ body. No family members came.
On this solemn and sad Sabbath day, the followers and disciples of Jesus were surely overwhelmed with emotions: grief, shock, sadness, disbelief, doubt… Joseph cared for the body. Mary and Mary stayed present and grieved. They would prepare spices and perfumes to go early the next morning to finish caring for the body. No one expected the resurrection. Hope was lost. Love had died.
Prayer: Lord, help me to imagine what this day was like long ago. Let me feel the emptiness and loneliness and despair of the saddest of days. Temper the joy of the resurrection just this day so that I too can remain close to the one who died for me. Amen.