Scripture: John 19:38-42
Key verses: (38-42) 38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Reflection: No matter where I am, I like to be reflective from noon until 3 p.m. on Good Friday. Letting the story of Good Friday surround me and imagine what Jesus’ followers must have felt that first Friday. Was there an emptiness deep inside? Did it feel like the end of a revolution? Did it feel like the end of HOPE?
I don’t want to leave that story too quickly but our scripture re-introduces us to Nicodemus. He was the one who met Jesus at night and had a lot of questions. The Judaism that Jesus and Nicodemus knew had a good deal to do with being born to the right family. Following Jesus was a little bit too far off the grid for Nicodemus but he was drawn to him. Meeting him at night meant he could keep everything in his life neat and tidy. He pretty much disappears until this verse from John 19 when he joins Joseph of Arimathea. He comes right out into the open in an intimate gesture of faith. Nicodemus prepares the body for burial.
The bold act of faith reminds us that faith is not dead on this day. It invites us to be bold and embrace Jesus and wherever this journey of faith might take us.
Prayer: God of the Cross, do not abandon us in our darkness but do not move us so quickly to Easter. Stay with us here as we sit with the Jesus of the tomb. Holding on to the Hope that Sunday is coming. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].