Lenten Reader | Day 40


Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

- Luke 23:50-56
Jesus was buried. The day before Easter doesn’t feel very hopeless to us because we know the resurrection is coming. But place yourself in the shoes of the early disciples of Jesus. Jesus is dead. And he’s been buried. There’s a finality to burial. When someone dies, we don’t gather at the graveside service hoping that the person who is about to be buried will pop up out of the casket before he or she is lowered into the ground. At that point, we have accepted that it’s over.

For the first disciples, it must have felt a little bit like that. It’s over. They thought he was the long-awaited Messiah who was going to usher in the Kingdom of God. But now he’s dead. And it’s time to lay him and all of this to rest.

But something was happening in that tomb. God was doing what He does best: taking death and turning it into life. We see this pattern all over Creation each Fall (death) and Spring (resurrection). A seed dies, it’s buried in the dirt, and from the ground springs new life.

Jesus was buried, but death didn’t get the final word. Through his resurrection, he defeated death and a new way of living can now be found. Saturday those many years ago was pretty bleak, because it looked like it was over. But, in fact, God was just getting started. New life is on the way.

Tomorrow, we celebrate.

-Andrew Day