Saturday, April 4, 2015

From Death to Life

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus.  He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.  And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock.  And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’  Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”  Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.”  So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.  (Matt 27:57-66)

“O sorrow dread, our God is dead,” wrote the hymnist Johann Rist.  The rich man Joseph obtains Jesus’ body. He wraps our dead Lord.  Joseph lays the holy One—the embodiment of Life itself—on a bed of death.  Death is made holy by Jesus’ passion.  The grave is now sanctified for Christians.  Jesus didn’t remain there. His Father’s will was to bring Him through death to life.  Easter is coming.  Jesus proclaims victory in Satan’s face and to those in hell. He is risen.  Joy is near.

O Lord, you have sanctified all of life for me.  By Your death and resurrection, Grant that I may fear the grave as little as I fear my pillow.  Amen.

Around the Word Devotions, Apr 4, 2015

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