Holy Saturday: For the Sake of Others
-Rev Melissa Fain-
That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting in front of the tomb. The next day, which was the day after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that deceiver was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will arise.’ Therefore, order the grave to be sealed until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people, ‘He’s been raised from the dead.’ This last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate replied, “You have soldiers for guard duty. Go and make it as secure as you know how.” Then they went and secured the tomb by sealing the stone and posting the guard. Matthew 27:57-66 CEB
I fully believe the bravest people in the world are the ones who have the most to lose, and they risk it all for the sake of others. That’s what I think of when I read Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus and placed him in his tomb. Two important bits of context.
First, Jesus’ closest disciples were currently hiding. They were fearful for their lives. Second, during this time there were tons of really poor people, and a few very rich people. Forget middle class, that just didn’t exist back then.
For Joseph, there was nothing to be gained from admitting you were a disciple of Jesus, but there was everything to lose. That’s a kind of bravery I doubt many in America would understand. We know the ending to this story. We know what happens in act three. Joseph didn’t know.
Tomorrow we celebrate new life after death. Today we celebrate those who risk it all for the sake of others. Human or Divine, we should look on both with awe and respect.
Lord, we know the night is darkest before the dawn. Before the sun rises on this Easter morn, show us the stars that still shine in the darkness. Amen.