Today’s meditation is from Max Lucado’s book , On Calvary’s Hill (pages 92-95)
Friends Take Jesus’ Body
Scripture – Matthew 27:57-61
They are coming as friends—secret friends—but friends nonetheless.
“You can take him down now, soldier. I’ll take care of him.” A soldier leans a ladder against the center tree, ascends it, and removes the stake that holds the beam to the upright part of the cross. Two of the other soldiers, glad that the day’s work is nearing completion, assist with the heavy chore of laying the cypress crosspiece and body on the ground.
“Careful now,” says Joseph.
The five-inch nails are wrenched from the hard wood. The body that encased a Savior is lifted and laid on a large rock.
“He’s yours,” says the sentry.
The two are not accustomed to this type of work. Yet their hands move quickly to their tasks. Joseph of Arimathea kneels behind the head of Jesus and tenderly wipes the wounded face. With a soft, wet cloth he cleans the blood that came in the Garden, that came from the lashings and from the crown of thorns.
With this done, he closes the eyes tight. Nicodemus unrolls some line sheeting that Joseph brought and places it on the rock beside the body. The two Jewish leaders lift the lifeless body of Jesus and set it on the linen. Parts of the body are now anointed with perfumed spices. As Nicodemus touches the cheeks of the Master with aloe, the emotion he has been containing escapes. His own tear falls on the face of the crucified King.
He pauses to brush away another. The middle-aged Jew looks longingly at the young Galilean. The high society of Jerusalem wasn’t going to look too kindly on two of their religious leaders burying a revolutionist. But for Joseph and Nicodemus the choice was obvious. And, besides, they’d much rather save their souls than their skins.
Heavenly Father, who could touch your Son’s lifeless body and not shed tears? I want to reach out and touch him as well and know just how much the story didn’t end here. Thank you that Sunday was yet to come! In Jesus name. Amen.
How can a Christ-follower today display the same type of devotion to Jesus as Joseph and Nicodemus?