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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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.