John 19:31 to 20:10
It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe. These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”
Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds[d] of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover[e] and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed — for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.
Devotion by Chris Shiver
The followers of Jesus had staked everything on him and now he was gone, and all that they could do with their grief was follow their community’s rituals of caring for his terribly mistreated body. They had heard him say that he would overcome even this, but surely not even he could overcome the terrible execution they had witnessed. Hope seemed to be extinguished.
We know how this story turns out and are reminded of it each year. Despite this we all encounter situations, obstacles or tragedies that seem to drain all hope out of us. But I know from experience that when I truly have faith in the unlimited power of God’s love, demonstrated by Christ here on earth, that I can be brought through any circumstance and still be shown a way to truly live. There may be great loss or pain but those cannot overcome me with Jesus at my side.
Jesus, I pray that I will never forget that you are always with me when the unexpected happens. Help me to find a way to share your love and strength with others who have lost hope. Amen.