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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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.