Today’s Reading of the Story is on page 381 and ends on page 382 with the words “…ting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.” If you are reading in your bible, read John 19:31-42, Matthew 27:62-66
Mark 11:9-10 (NIV) 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
The festive shouts have been silenced by the death of their Savior, Jesus.
I don’t know which is worse: being crucified, or being beaten on the cross to end it all! Of course, their quick death was necessary.
John 19:31 (NIV) 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
Crucifixion was “designed” to make those being punished suffer for days, but not today. Tradition is more important today than punishing criminals.
John 19:33-34 (NIV) 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
Six hours on the cross and Jesus was “finished”, literally, and His work as Savior was done.
A couple of “secret” disciples, former members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, came to Pilate requesting that they prepare His body for burial. They came prepared. 75 pounds of spices. Sounds like a lot for burial.
John 19:40-42 (NIV) 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
One more note from today’s reading.
Matthew 27:62-66 (NIV) 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.
Graveyard shift. If you’ve ever worked a Graveyard shift – a work shift running through the late hours of the evening to the early hours of the morning – you know that it “should” be an “easier” work schedule. Everyone else is sleeping. Guarding a grave at a cemetery is a pretty easy job “normally”. After all, most cemeteries don’t have fences around them. Most of us wouldn’t be caught dead in a cemetery. (Sorry!) So why on earth would you ever need to “guard” the grave of a dead man? Unless He made promises of RISING from the DEAD.
How do prove Jesus was a liar? You guard His grave. You seal His tomb. And you wait for three days. If the seal is broken…the winter is over. (Sorry that’s the groundhog). If the seal is broken, Jesus is Risen, the grave is no longer to be feared, heaven is open to all who believe in Jesus’ name.
(Wait till you read tomorrow’s readings.)
Father on this Easter Monday, knowing that Jesus was raised from the dead, it changes how we read this narrative today. We find no joy in knowing that it was our sins that made His death necessary. We derive no satisfaction in the truth that He suffered for our sins so the punishment that should come to us fell on Him. BUT we pray give us hearts that are continually sad over our sin but joyful as we claim by faith the Holy life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ Risen from the dead. Holy Spirit, help us always to be faithful and obedient to our Risen Savior, in Jesus’ name. Amen.