Matthew 27:57-66 NRSVue
57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who also was himself a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
62The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise, his disciples may go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” 65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”, 66So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Jesus was charismatic; he impressed those he met and stirred up deep emotion. But he was shy of anyone who made a decision under the influence of that emotion. Those who wanted to follow him were asked first to count the cost.
Lord, there have been sweet, uplifting times in my spiritual life, but most of it is everyday struggle. I pray for perseverance rather than rapture.
The Saturday of holy week can be an empty day as we wait and just wait for the evening of resurrection. Like the ones who had placed Jesus kindly in their tomb, we wait with him for something new. With Jesus there is always the hint of something new, and even at the tomb they were afraid he might rise.
We pray in hope this day - the wood of the cross had within it the sap of hope. It may look like a dead tree, but it is alive with expectation.
I think of Pilate and Joseph of Arimathea in the presence of that dead body. Pilate had known Jesus innocent but, fearing for his own position, handed him over to death. Joseph had come to believe and hope in him as a disciple. Pilate wants to get rid of the body. Joseph receives it with deep reverence. I watch him place the body with great love and care in the tomb he had prepared for himself.
Joseph goes away. I remain with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, watching, waiting, and reflecting on what has happened over the past days.