Peace be with you!
Not all of the Jewish leaders agreed with the majority decision to get rid of him. After Jesus dies yesterday, Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish council shows his dissent by going to Pilate and asking for Jesus’ body (Luke 23:50-52). Luke tells us this story because he wants us to fully understand that Jesus is now dead. Because Joseph cares for Jesus’ body, he is in a position to assess and witness to this fact. Only dead bodies are placed in tombs.
Joseph takes great care with Jesus’ body by taking it down from the cross and wrapping it in linen cloth (Luke 23:53ab). Because the Sabbath is beginning at dusk, Joseph lays the dead Jesus in his own new tomb (Luke 23:53c-54). Although Joseph is a Jewish authority figure, he gives Jesus a burial of honor after his unjust execution as a criminal.
Joseph does not hide his actions. The Galilean women (probably Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary mother of James as noted in Luke 24:10) follow Joseph to the tomb and see where he lays Jesus’ body (Luke 23:55). The women who cared for Jesus during his ministry follow him to the cross and the grave. Their devotion stands in contrast to the fearful betrayals and denials of some of the disciples.
Since it is the Sabbath, Joseph and the women go home to rest according to the commandment (Luke 23:56c). They are faithfully following the Ten Commandments and honoring their Lord. Their devotion to Jesus never ceases, even in his death. After the Sabbath, the woman will return with prepared spices and ointments to care for Jesus’ body (23:56ab). The women’s love for Jesus goes beyond death and the grave; they will keep his love and ministry alive.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Jesus, Thank you for taking our beating, our cross, our punishment for us. Help us to live a life worthy of your sacrifice. Thank you for the power of your love. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. In our culture today, what rituals are done to prepare a body for burial? How do these compare to those that were used during the time of Jesus?
2. Where are you in the story after Jesus’ death? With Joseph who only finds the courage to break with the Jewish council after Jesus’ death? With the devoted women who do not abandon Jesus in his death and burial? With the disciples who hid out in fear? What happens in your faith life when the going gets tough?