Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Burial of Jesus

Lamentations 3:1-9
1 Peter 4:1-8
April 3, 2010

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 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. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. - John 19:38-42

Jesus was subject to a speedy trial. His death by crucifixion lasted not a few days but three short hours. The Sabbath was about to begin He is buried in a new tomb in close proximity to the place where He had died. Everything was done in hast. His arrest was arranged in secret for fear of the crowd. His trial was conducted at night because it was expedient. He was sentenced to death and executed just prior to a major festival while so many people were distracted by the events happening in the city. Now His lifeless body would rest in the tomb. After the holiday there would be time for additional spices and mourning.

The events leading up to His death were unparalleled. His death was unlike any other. Nor would anything ever be the same once there was a return to His tomb. Today there is silence. We remember the events of yesterday we anticipate the joy of tomorrow and are left today to reflect how this one solitary life has changed us forever. The cross of yesterday and the empty tomb of tomorrow can not be separated. They are the tokens of your salvation.

Guard us waking, guard us sleeping, And when we die,
May we in Your mighty keeping all peaceful lie.
When the last dread call shall wake us, Then O Lord, do not forsake us,
But to reign in glory take us With You on high.

O God, creator of heaven and earth, grant that as the crucified body of Your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with Him the coming of the third day, and rise with Him to newness of life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Holy Saturday Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.
God, Who Made the Earth and Heaven stanza three Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St Louis

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