DEAD AND BURIED
Wise and patient God, you are truth. Penetrate my life with truth from your Word. Purify and cleanse me.
Read John 19:28–42
The Death of Jesus
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[a] 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[b]
The Burial of Jesus
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.[c] 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever embarked on something – decorating, baking, a long-distance walk? How did it feel when you came to the end, and you could look back with a sense of satisfaction? Hold that in your mind as you read.
The word ‘finished’ (vs 28,30) indicates the completion of a task. Jesus’ final cry is, despite his agony, an expression of satisfaction at a job well done. Running through these chapters is the thought that the cross is no accident of human history. It is the means by which God redeemed the world, a truth underlined by the repeated references to fulfillment of scripture. It reminds us that for Jesus, the cross was a deliberate choice (John 10:17,18); it was not down to Jewish demands or Pilate’s sentence. We can know a new relationship with God because Jesus chose the cross and finished his work.
Enter two apparently secret followers, a reminder that things are not always what they seem. Two prominent Jewish leaders: one, at least, a member of the council (v 38), the other, on his last appearance, something of a sceptic (John 3:1–15). We probably wouldn’t have given them a chance. But God’s love is wider than our limited ideas. We can have fixed ideas of who Jesus’ followers are. But the reality may be different. Where might we see God at work today in unlikely people?
Pray for Christians living under hostile regimes in many places around the world who have to follow in secret.
Lord, may my life today demonstrate the beauty and power of Your love, care, and wisdom. May these qualities touch others through me.
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