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Vital Signs - Saturday, April 11, 2020

So often, we live our lives at breakneck speed. We frantically go from one thing to the next without a thought, doing violence not only to our bodies and mental health but to our spirituality. We fly over texts like today's on Jesus's burial and miss the quality of sadness it communicates.

But let’s pause for a moment.

What would it have felt like to have your hopes dashed against the rocks?

To have the one on whom you’ve placed the entire weight of your hope and love be taken from you?

To see the one who has loved you in a way that all others have failed, to see him taken by night, mocked, beaten, bruised, crucified like a common criminal, like an enemy of the state?

How do you bury someone like this?

If we are like most of the disciples we would have tucked tail and ran and not have been around to see all of this go down.

But there are a couple of characters in this story that once were ashamed or fearful of following Jesus who now are the men who take Jesus down from his cross and prepare his body for burial.

Imagine being with them in a small room, themselves becoming ritually unclean (by touching a corpse) in order to clean the body that was broken to cleanse them of their deepest stains.

Can you smell the heavy spices in the room? Can you hear the heavy sobs? The heaving of sadness as Joseph and Nicodemus care for the broken and lifeless body of the Author of Life? But how could we if we are always in a rush?

So this is an invitation to slow down this Easter.

To sit in the tomb with the lifeless body of the Lord of All.

To see and experience the lengths to which he would go for you.

“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 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 and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.”

‭‭John‬ ‭19:31-42‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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