“Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. 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 23:50-55 (NLT)
Jesus was dead.
The people who loved Jesus and witnessed the crucifixion didn’t know the end of the story. The only thing they knew was the Man who did miracles, who promised a coming kingdom, who was their friend, died a gruesome death.
What were they going to do?
Jesus’ closest friends ran and hid. Fear gripped their hearts. I’m sure they spent the hours after Jesus’ death sad and afraid. The very crowd that called for Jesus’ death knew His friends. They were exposed. In fear and confusion, the eleven went into hiding.
Has being a friend of Jesus caused you hide? Following Jesus has a cost. It may not be monetary. Following Jesus may cost you your comfort. Jesus never promised ease, but peace and provision. The horrific spectacle drowned out the words of Jesus in the minds of His disciples. Jesus was the one who raised the dead—what were the disciples going to do?
His closest friends cowered in their pain, fear and confusion.
Jesus had some distant followers. These men were not the ones you would expect to find on the scene. Joseph (not Jesus’ dad) was a member of the Jewish council that called for Jesus’ death. Scripture records Joseph disagreed with the council’s decision. John records that Nicodemus, the Jewish ruler that came to Jesus at night provided the anointing spices for Jesus’ body. The gospels don’t record any account of these two men openly following Jesus during His earthly ministry.
Since these two men were in the Synagogue, they heard the words of Jesus. At some point during Jesus’ ministry, their hearts were changed. At this moment when tension was high, these men stepped to the forefront, collected Jesus’ body, prepared it burial and provided the tomb.
In Jesus’ culture, women were, at best, second-class citizens. Women were essentially possessions. The Pharisees never addressed women. Jesus on the other hand, spoke to women, healed women, allowed women to touch Him, and showed compassion to women. Jesus was radical. The women He touched loved Him. In their love, they planned to care for His body, tenderly, the way Jesus cared for them.
These women were close throughout Jesus trial, and stayed at the foot of the cross. The women, mostly unnamed followed Jesus to His death.
What About You?
What are you going to do with Jesus?
Do you run from Christ when the cost seems too great? Are you a distant follower, weighing the cost of following Christ? Are you a quiet follower? Are you so moved by Christ, that you will follow Him in the darkest moments?
Once you know about Jesus, the inescapable question is, what are you going to do with Him?
Father, help me evaluate my commitment to Christ. Give me a determined heart to follow Christ—openly, with determination, love, and devotion. Give me a deeper understanding of the sacrifice Christ made for me.