The Burial Or Jesus (Day 68)

Read Mark 15:42-47
   The Sabbath began at Sundown on Friday and ended at sundown on Saturday. Jesus died just a few hours before sundown on Friday. It was against Jewish law to do physical work or to travel on the Sabbath. It was also against Jewish law to let a dead body remain exposed overnight (Deuteronomy 21). Joseph came to bury Jesus’ body before the Sabbath began. If Jesus had died on the Sabbath when Joseph was unavailable, His body would have been taken down by the Romans. Had the Romans taken Jesus’ body, no Jews could have confirmed His death, and opponents could have disputed His resurrection. 
   After Jesus died on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea asked for His body and then sealed it in a new tomb. Although an honored member of the high council, Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus. Not all the Jewish leaders hated Jesus. Joseph risked his reputation to give a proper burial to his Lord. It is frightening to risk one’s reputation even for what is right. If your Christian witness endangers your reputation, remember Joseph. Today he is remembered with admiration in the Christian church. How many other members of the Jewish high council can you name? 
   Pilate was surprised that Jesus had died so quickly, so he asked an officer to verify the report. Today, in an effort to deny the Resurrection, there are those who say that Jesus didn’t really die. His death, however, was confirmed by the officer, Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea, the religious leaders, and the women who witnessed His burial. Jesus suffered actual physical death on the cross. 
   The tomb was probably a man-made cave hewn from a hill. It was large enough to walk into. Joseph wrapped Jesus’ body, placed it in the tomb, and rolled a heavy stone across the entrance. The religious leaders also watched where Jesus was buried. They stationed guards by the tomb and sealed the stone to make sure that no one could steal Jesus’ body and claim He had risen from the dead (Matthew 27). 
   These women could do very little. They couldn’t speak before the high council in Jesus’ defense; they couldn’t appeal to Pilate; they couldn’t stand against the crowds; they couldn’t overpower the Roman guards. But they did what they could. They stayed at the cross when the disciples had fled; they followed Jesus’ body to its tomb; and they prepared spices for His body. Because these women used the opportunities they had, they were the first to witness the Resurrection. God blessed their devotion and diligence. As believers, we should take advantage of the opportunities we have and do what we can for Christ, instead of worrying about what we cannot do.