MUSINGS – December 15, 2018
THE FAITHFUL FEW
It was Friday evening, before the day of worship, when Joseph arrived. He was from the city of Arimathea and was an important member of the Jewish council. He, too, was waiting for the kingdom of God. Joseph boldly went to Pilate’s quarters to ask for the body of Jesus. Pilate wondered if Jesus had already died. So he summoned the officer to ask him if Jesus was, in fact, dead. When the officer had assured him that Jesus was dead, Pilate let Joseph have the corpse. Joseph had purchased some linen cloth. He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in the cloth. Then he laid the body in a tomb, which had been cut out of rock, and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary from Magdala and Mary (the mother of Joses) watched where Jesus was laid.
Several things should be noted here: Joseph was an important member of the Jewish council. However he had arrived after the mockery of a trial and the execution.
It was normal for the bodies of the crucified to be left hanging on the cross, so it was necessary to plead with Pilate, the Roman official, to break with the custom and grant permission to take the body. Before granting permission, Pilate double checked that Jesus was dead.
Had Joseph not been a wealthy* and important person, Jesus’s body would not have been removed nor intombed prior to the beginning of the Sabbath (Friday night). Because it was such a hurried affair, there was no time for a proper embalming. The body was quickly wrapped in linen and sealed in the tomb.
Also note: had not Mary from Magdala and Mary (the mother of Joses) watched where Jesus was laid, the disciples would not have known where his body was placed.
It was the faithful few, not the apostles, who cared for our Lord’s body.
*Hundreds of years before the event, Isaiah had foretold in chapter 53 and verse 9, He was placed in a tomb with the wicked. He was put there with the rich when he died, although he had done nothing violent and had never spoken a lie.
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