Holy Week 2022: Saturday
And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
As was custom under Roman rule, those crucified would stay on the cross unless someone close to the criminal requested their body. The son of God hung dead on a cross. And when evening came on the day before the Sabbath, a council member looking for the kingdom of God, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted his request, giving the body of Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea. Following burial customs as quickly as he could, Joseph took Jesus down off the cross, wrapped him in a clean linen cloth, and laid him in Joseph’s tomb. Then he closed the entrance to his tomb with a heavy stone.
Joseph’s request was a powerful testimony: he still identified with Jesus in his death, and he was resolved to serve him even now. So, at great cost to himself, Joseph gives his expensive, unused tomb to the son of God. The hope of the world now buried in a tomb. The sealing of the tomb must have seemed like an ending to the hope that Jesus carried into Jerusalem. Dreams were dashed. Joy was gone. Despair abounded. There was no hope left.
The reality, though, is that had anyone truly understood who’d been put in that tomb, hope would have remained. As Christians, we have hope in a Savior who not only died for us, but also is powerful enough to rise for us, too.
Questions for Reflection
- What do you imagine the disciples felt on Saturday with Jesus in the tomb?
- How does it make you feel to know that Jesus died for you, specifically? How might you respond?
- How does the hope of the resurrection give you hope today?