Daily D – Luke 23:55-56
As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law. LUKE 23:55-56 (NLT)
Death has a way of making time stand still.
The world hurries on ever as before. Traffic flows and stops. The news cycle never ends. News broadcasters and other entertainers clamor for attention and ratings. People cannot stop talking. Yet those closest to the one who has passed from this life feel wrapped in a sort of numb cocoon. They are surrounded by silent stillness. The day of the week, the time of day, the necessity of food and drink lose importance.
Friends and acquaintances have lost loved ones in the last couple of weeks. Instead of loving receptions at visitations the evening before a funeral, only the closest of family members gathered in their homes to remember. Instead of services at a funeral home or a church, that same small group of family members told stories, read Bible verses, wept and prayed alone.
This is a most unusual season. However, it is not without precedent. At the end of Good Friday, as the Sabbath was about to begin with the setting sun that horrific day, all that was left of the crowd at the cross was a few women from out of town who remained out of duty to care for the lifeless body of the man who spoke words of truth and life and who had healing in his hands.
The Roman officer was impressed with Jesus (v. 47). The crowd, so boisterous, so hateful, “went home in deep sorrow,” (v. 48). One righteous man named Joseph took charge of the necessity of burial (vv. 50-54). Only a handful of people were there to say goodbye to Jesus.
Death won again. It is practically undefeated. The ratio never changes: one out of one dies.
Death is real. It separates close loved ones. It is the final enemy. It stings. The sting leaves an ache and an emptiness. Though life goes on, it is never the same.
So the out-of-towners “rested as required by the law.” Death is more sure than taxes. Death is more real than the next sunrise. Death wraps its victims and their loved ones in darkness.
O, that someone could triumph over death!
O, that someone could pierce the darkness!
O, that we could sing glad songs again!
Jesus was scolded and hounded about healing people on the Sabbath. Again and again, he received the remonstrations of the authorities for working on the Sabbath. So Jesus lay quietly in his grave as Good Friday turned into Silent Saturday. There would be no miracles that day.
But how do you feel about Sunday?
I will sit in sorrowful silence this Saturday and wait for a new day.
Our Father, I hate death. I hate its reality, its seeming finality. I hate what it does to those who remain. I hate that some people celebrate it. I hate death! Please comfort those whose sorrow is great in this season who have so few companions to help bear their burdens. May they know the peace of your presence and the hope of a new day’s dawning. Amen.
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6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Job 40:6–14.
Job 29:21-25 21 “People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.