Come Back to the Tomb this Easter!

Read: Matthew 27:57–60; John 19:38–42; Mark 15:42–47; Luke 23:50–56

“Going to Pilate, he [Joseph of Arimathea] 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 27:58–60 NIV).

Reflect: There are a few things we don’t really like to talk much about in our families—little things that irritate us with our spouses, like snoring and smacking gum; financial problems that we are ashamed of; or worries about our health. We surely don’t like addressing the subject of preparing for our own deaths. We tiptoe around the subject, even with our aging parents. I have met people in the hospital in their 70s and 80s with terminal illnesses who have never addressed the issue with their children. 

It is such a relief to encounter those that have addressed the inevitable issue of their own deaths in a practical way. Both sets of our parents have long ago purchased their burial plots, even having the tombstones prepared (without filling in the departure dates, of course). There are few things more personal than a burial plot. In fact, our bodies may spend a lot more time there than they did walking around! 

What would motivate a person to readily give his most personal possession to someone else—in this case a person who suffered the death of a common criminal? Yet, all four gospel accounts share the story of a man who willingly gave for a place for the body of Jesus. 

: What is the most personal thing you hold? Is it your family? Your job? Your hope for a future? Your boyfriend or spouse? 

Christ was certainly known for His directness when addressing our treasures. In His talk on the mountain, early in His ministry, He plainly told His followers, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 NIV).

Jesus’ trial and death happened quickly. For most, it was quite unexpected. Joseph probably did not have a lot of time to weigh pros and cons of offering his most personal possession to Christ. It was automatic. He was ready to give. 

What would our walk with God be like if we were that ready to give?

David Johnson, IMB missionary emeritus