Saturday

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so, he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. (38-39)

John 19:38-42 Saturday 16 April 2022

Psalm 31:1-4

Background

As we walk the way of the Cross, today is important as we are confronted one last time with both the wonder and the poignancy of the incarnation (God becoming human in the form of Jesus). Jesus' journey, which began when he was born in Bethlehem must, for its purpose, make a waypoint of his death on the Cross and, today, at the tomb.

Jesus is the Son of God, the one sent by God into the world to save the world by revealing God’s love. And Jesus is also a man who will die on a cross, bleeding from his pieced side, wrapped in linen cloths and laid to rest in a garden tomb. Because Jesus is human, because he can and will die, he can reveal the fullness of God’s love in ways never before possible. He reveals God’s love in and through human experience.

As we have made our way through this week, we have recognised the commandment of Jesus to his disciples, to love one another and to demonstrate that love in acts of service. Jesus reveals the love of God in the act of giving his life – there is no greater act of love. The crucifixion and the command to love go hand in hand, because it is impossible to understand Jesus’ love separated from his death on the Cross. In that act of death, that act of loving service, is found cause for reciprocal loving service, as friends come to carry Jesus to his grave. Yet these are friends who have previously stayed in the shadows – Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

In the death of Jesus on the Cross, the work of God’s incarnation, begun in the manger at Bethlehem, is brought to fulfilment. Just as Jesus’ birth drew close those who were far off, just as his ministry reached out beyond the boundaries, so the Cross and the grave bring out those who previously followed at a distance and in secret. John’s theology is fulfilled, the one who came to bring life and light to all people has fulfilled his purpose, "…and we have seen his glory." (John 1: 14). And tomorrow, tomorrow is another day. It is the day upon which that glory will burst forth with unimagined splendour.

 

To Ponder:

  • As you reflect back on this Holy Week, which themes stand out for you as moments of challenge, confirmation or celebration?
  • What would your personal life, the life of the community local to you, or the wider world look like if it became the place from which God’s glory were to burst forth with unimagined splendour?
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