Prepare to Listen. You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)
Prayerfully Read Matthew 27:57-66
57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also 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 own 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 that the tomb 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.
‘“So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.” End of story, as far as the Pharisees were concerned. There’d be no last deception worse than the first as no one would be enter that tomb, steal the body and then claim Jesus had been raised to life as he’d foretold. It’s fascinating that the people who were determined to kill Jesus were the only ones who remembered that he’d said, “After three days I will rise again,” and were afraid he would. Whereas his disciples, who’d repeatedly heard Jesus’ claim to rise again after three days, neither remembered nor expected it to happen. The male disciples went into hiding and didn’t even know where Joseph of Arimathea placed the body. But two women knew. “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” followed Joseph and remained “there, sitting opposite the tomb.” Did they remember Jesus’ words? Were they hoping to witness his bodily resurrection? What did they talk about as they sat opposite the tomb and waited? I wonder.
Matthew’s lesson ends ominously with Jesus’ body securely sealed in the tomb. Take a moment to imagine sitting with the two women opposite the tomb. What might you be thinking, especially as you’re experiencing global suffering and sorrow today?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, may I be like the two courageous women who remained with you to the end. They knew where your body was laid, and entered into your suffering, waiting and watching outside the tomb in grief. On this Holy Saturday give me patience to wait in faith, watch in hope, participating with you in the suffering and aloneness of so many around the world today. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Sit and wait for resurrection.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.