SCRIPTURE: John 19:38-42
The Burial of Jesus
38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Randall C. Zachman offers to us that “This narrative thus raises the question posed by Bultmann as to whether the resurrection narrative should even be considered as an original part of the Gospel of John. After all, the decision of Joseph and Nicodemus to make a public profession of their faith and discipleship takes place when Jesus is indisputably dead, not after he is attested to be raised from the dead. All that Joseph and Nicodemus can see is that Jesus is dead, and they already know that both their own people and the Romans will seek to kill anyone who professes faith in him. They do not wait until they can see that their venture of faith will be guaranteed to succeed in light of the resurrection of Jesus, but rather believe his message that the eternal life he came to offer is most powerfully effective when he is raised up on the cross, in spite of the fact that this guarantees that their own lives will likely be lost for the sake of his name.”
Can you put yourself in the same place as these people? We profess a faith in a resurrected Jesus, but we were not witnessed to it. There we no pictures, no videos, no social media to share the resurrection. We go by faith and faith alone. Now in this country, our lives are rarely, if ever, at risk by professing our faith in Jesus, unlike Joseph and Nicodemus. But for Jesus’ followers, their lives were at stake potentially and they did not have the knowledge that we do today. They did not know how this would all play out; they did not fully understand everything that Jesus had been telling them. We are truly blessed to have come later in the history of humanity after these events, carrying the faith of generations.
Think about something that you waited for a very long time, and it never came to fruition in the way you expected, but maybe ended up even better in the end. How did you work through the anxiety or stress or disappointment you may have experienced? Now think about a time that you waited, and it still never came to fruition, maybe leaving you a bit devastated. How have you dealt with what you experienced there?
God of all-time, you work within your time, not in ours. We may have high hopes and dreams or desires, but we need to remember that you work in your time for what you want for us. Help us to have patience, not lose faith, and fully put our trust in you always. Amen.