As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
Matthew 27: 57 – 60
A few weeks ago, I was struck by the simple serenity of Prince Philip’s funeral service, especially that tranquil moment when lowered into the Royal Vault beneath St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. I experienced a similar calmness a few years ago when sitting in the choir stalls there while on a Windsor Leadership Trust course (a programme that the Duke of Edinburgh himself founded).
These verses cover the serenity of Jesus’ funeral. Yet, have you ever spent more than a passing thought at that sombre period between the gloom of Jesus’ crucifixion and the joy of his resurrection? I hadn’t quite appreciated before the significant role of Joseph from Arimathea, one of Jesus’ followers and a prominent member of the ruling council (the Sanhedrin) that condemned Jesus to his fate. Joseph, a wealthy man with lots to lose, displayed more than a little courage and sacrifice in seeking Pilot’s permission to place Jesus in his own freshly cut, and (what he thought) never to be used again, tomb.
Imagine then the peacefulness, the calmness and the privilege that Joseph must have felt as he took Jesus into his care for that final eventful day before being raised from the dead.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you died for me and for everyone. Help me to find the calmness that I need to continue to feel your presence in my life. Amen
Action: Find a quiet place (not necessarily a choir stall in an historic church!) to seek God’s calm presence in the midst of all the hurly, burly.