The Cold Facts
Pray the prayer of Psalm 119:135: “Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.”
Read MARK 15:40-47
 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.  In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.  It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached,  Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.  Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.  When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.  So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.  Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy do you think Joseph asked for Jesus' body?
Jewish society treated women as second class citizens, but Jesus had broken with rabbinic tradition and treated these women as equals with men in the Kingdom of God. No wonder they stayed and served him to the bitter end (40,41,47). These women, along with Joseph and the centurion, become crucial witnesses to the fact that Jesus died (44,47). For if Jesus did not really die, then the sin-bearing work on the cross is unfinished and the hope and power of the resurrection is a fantasy.
So Mark leaves no room for theories that Jesus only fainted on the cross, or that bribed soldiers took Jesus off the cross barely alive. The certification of death from an experienced military officer is proof (44,45). The religious community might suspect the opinion of Gentiles and women, but the witness of Joseph, a respected member of their ruling Sanhedrin, carried weight. Joseph must have been tormented over his own part in the events that led to Jesus’ death (43). But as Joseph honored Jesus publicly, God used him to fulfill Scripture (see Isa. 53:9) and set the scene for the resurrection.
We all fail Jesus, but each new day gives us opportunities to honor him. How will you do that today?
Lord Jesus, You are worthy of all honor and I want to give it. Show me ways to do so today.
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