The darkness of sorrow
The burial of Jesus
57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
The guard at the tomb
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise again.” 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.’
65 ‘Take a guard,’ Pilate answered. ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Gone. Life ended. A body buried. Left behind. Alone.
I know Joseph of Arimathea’s grief. I’ve known grief too. It hurts; really hurts.
He must have been a good man, risking his reputation amongst his fellow Jews to ask for the body of a man rejected, vilified, criminalised then crucified. Joseph must have realised how much he loved you, Lord. How much he had lost. All he could do was bury You, then take away his aching, hurting grieving heart full of those 2 little words. ‘If only…’
And You Lord. Gone. Life ended. A body buried. Left behind. Alone. In a stone cold tomb.
What was it like, Lord? Were You even aware of death? Did You descend to the depths to reach out to those who had gone before You? My finite mind can’t take in the infinite significance of this.
It was the end. It was finished. But in the end, is the beginning. What was finished, was only just starting. In the darkness of despair, there was hope.
Jesus, in my times of darkness, You are my hope. The darkness of sorrow is, in the end, like the feeble attempts of humans to secure the tomb. For nothing can hold You. You hold everything in Your wounded hands.