Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

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Written by Mr. Peter Langbroek
The shadows were long when Joseph of Arimathea carried His body to the nearby tomb; the sun would set soon, and then it would be Sabbath. Nicodemus carried the spicesÑmyrrh and aloes--seventy five pounds (37 kg) of it. They wasted no time preparing His body for burial. They set Him next to the tomb. They cleaned His body. Then Joseph began to wrap His body in clean linen strips of cloth. Nicodemus helped put the spices between the strips as they wrapped Him toe to shoulder.

Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God. The Messiah, the Son of David, had come, He thought. GodÕs promise had come true. The Son would destroy the enemies and set His throne in Jerusalem. He would reign forever. Now Joseph was wrapping the Man he thought would be King.

Joseph was part of the Sanhedrin who had Him crucified. He despised their schemes to kill Him, the money they gave Judas to betray Him. Finally, he spoke up against their decision to crucify Him. He heard Him often. This Man of Galilee spoke with authority. Truly, He was the Son of God. But Joseph was too scared to openly follow Jesus, until now.

Nicodemus too, was scared. He once visited Jesus at night because he feared his fellow rabbis would see him. He was convinced Jesus was a rabbi come down from God. The miracles He performed proved that very well. What Jesus told him that night he never forgot. What Jesus said, puzzled him. Jesus told him he had to be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God. Surely, Nicodemus had not expected a prophet from God to say that. Did he remember, then, that Jesus also told him the Son of Man must be lifted up?

The body was embalmed. Joseph still had to wrap His head with a cloth. They worked quickly. Moses had said that all bodies had to be buried before dark, before the Sabbath. Not that Jesus needed to be buried; crucified criminals were not buried. No, Jesus was no criminal! Joseph would not allow His body to hang in shame on the Sabbath Day! He went to Pilate and begged that he take His body from the cross. Pilate let Joseph take JesusÕ body when the centurion told him that he had pierced JesusÕ side. The centurion told Pilate that he saw the water and blood flow out.

Joseph had carried JesusÕ body to his own grave. He was a very rich man who could afford a sepulchre in the garden outside Jerusalem. It had been carved out of the rock, and it had never been used before. Joseph wanted to be buried with honour in a grave fit for a king. Now he was placing a Galilean in his sepulchre.

Joseph and Nicodemus carried Him into the sepulchre. They ducked when they entered the opening. They laid Him down. Both men walked backwards from the opening. They stood up. Joseph went to the round stone. He pushed. The stone rolled in front of the opening. It's always easier to push it in front of the opening than to push it away. To push the stone away from the grave opening would take a lot of strength. It was almost 6:00 p.m. These pious Jews left the garden quickly.

So did the two women who had been watching the men all time. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, were sitting opposite the tomb. Yes, their rabbi was dead. They loved Him dearly. Mary Magdalene had felt so free when Jesus had ordered seven demons to come out of her. He was her deliverer. The other Mary was proud to have two of her sons as His disciples. She had so hoped her sons would reign with this Messiah the prophets had long ago spoken of. It was too late for the women to buy more spices. They would have to wait until the Sabbath was over at 6:00 the next day.

The women bought the spices. They prepared them, and before dawn on the first day of the week, they set out to anoint the body of Jesus. How would they roll the stone away? They had some problem solving to do. They walked the garden path to the sepulchre. What?! The stone is rolled away! The womenÕs hearts beat quickly. They duck to look inside. They gasp! There's a man, an angel in bright white clothing. He says to them, "Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you" (Mark 16:7).

Joseph, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, were not wrong about Jesus. He is the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Son of David, the Wonderful Counsellor, the only Wise God. They soon found out that He was more, not less than they expected Him to be. He, who was once dead, is alive, and is sitting at the right hand of the throne of His Father. These things were written in the Bible so you too may believe (John 19:35)

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