HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
For our Scripture Reading: John 19:38-42
And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
I will love to focus on verse 42 on this year’s “Good Friday”. This is a day we have been celebrating since our Lord Jesus was crucified over two thousand years ago. However, today it has more significance because He is coming back to receive His Bride.
There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. John 19:42
On Good Friday we turned to the cross; today we focus on the tomb and on the Lord’s body there. Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple, asked for Jesus’ body, and he and Nicodemus buried him. Seventy-five pounds of burial spices were expensive. Assuming death was the end of the story, they honoured Jesus with lavish care.
Reflecting on Jesus’ death and his lifeless body should not make us uncomfortable. We all will die at some time unless the Lord returns first. The two who showed loving respect for the Lord’s body remind me of funeral directors, embalmers, and hearse drivers we’ve met in ministry. Caring people, competent in their profession of meeting with family members at a trying time, trusted for funerals and burials, doing work that few people want to do.
As a new minister in a community, you will learn to rely on certain individuals. You will come in contact with funeral directors who will become reliable sources of information about your community and who needed what. You will conduct funerals for people who had no idea where to go for care when a death occurred in their family. There is where you as the minister will play a very important role in your community.
Jesus took our place completely, even to the indignity of being a corpse that had to be washed, embalmed, and buried. At a grieving home, you will hear many things said about the dead. You will be the only source of comfort there and it will be a learning process. Then at the graveside, you will hear the deep and heartfelt cries and the pain of the family loss. Jesus’ burial says the same about our Lord.
Let us pray
Father, we thank You that Jesus died and was buried. We thank You that it was not the end but the beginning of life for all of us. Hallelujah, We thank You, Lord Jesus, for taking no shortcuts on this journey. We also thank you that this was not the end. Comfort us and grants us our desires in this time of celebration. Amen.