April 03, 2010

In the Tomb

John 19:38-42

Since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
John 19:42


On Good Friday we turned to the cross; today we focus on the tomb and on the Lord’s body there. Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple, asked for Jesus’ body, and he and Nicodemus buried him. Seventy-five pounds of burial spices were expensive. Assuming death was the end of the story, they honored Jesus with lavish care.

Reflecting on Jesus’ death and his lifeless body should not make us uncomfortable. We all will die at some time, unless the Lord returns first. The two who showed loving respect for the Lord’s body remind me of funeral directors, embalmers, and hearse drivers I’ve met in ministry. Caring people, competent in their profession of meeting with family members at a trying time, trusted for funerals and burials, doing work that few people want to do. When I was a new church pastor in southern California, two funeral directors became my reliable sources of information about our community and who needed what. Following their example, I conducted funerals for people who had no idea where to go for care when a death occurred in their family.

Jesus took our place completely, even to the indignity of being a corpse that had to be washed, embalmed, and buried. When our granddaughter saw her grandma about to be buried, she cried, “Grandma’s really dead, isn’t she?!” Jesus’ burial says the same about our Lord.

Father, we thank you that Jesus died and was buried. We thank you, Lord Jesus, for taking no shortcuts on this journey. We also thank you that this was not the end. Amen.

About the author — John Rozeboom

Rev. John Rozeboom is a retired pastor of the Christian Reformed Church and a former director of Christian Reformed Home Missions. Currently he is coaching and supporting elders, ministers, and a congregation in mission. John and Linda Rozeboom live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they have two married children and five grandchildren.

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