The sun stopped shining.
Was it some sort of solar eclipse? Was it a heavy fog? It was as if the whole of creation was grieving at what was happening to the one through whom all things were made (John 1:3).
The curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple and shielded it from public view was torn from top (heaven) to bottom (earth). Access to God was now possible for all because of Jesus’ death.
The centurion was there to oversee the executions and he was clearly affected by what he saw. We don’t know if before this moment he was a ‘God-fearer’, but he certainly was now. Those who had been mocking now shamefully slunk away. Some of his followers, including the women from Galilee, watched from a distance – hearts torn apart and hopes dashed by what they had seen.
And then there’s Joseph (and Nicodemus with him according to John). He was a religious leader who had not gone with the crowd. He had not agreed with what had been done to Jesus. He did not want Jesus’ body left on the cross as it was forbidden by the law to leave dead bodies out overnight. So Joseph carried out this act of compassion, treating Jesus’ body with respect.
still in secret?
He told me, “No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit…”
He explained Scripture like no-one I have ever heard before.
He understood God.
He understood me.
I thought he was The One.
But he can’t be. Look at what they have done to him.
He did not deserve that. He never harmed anyone.
At least Joseph and I can give him a decent resting place.
That’s the least I can do for him.
Hold on, what about the women? They got spices ready but were too late to do anything before the Sabbath started (at nightfall on the Friday). So they waited.
Good Friday has passed. The Sabbath has started. We wait.
What would it have been like to have been one of Jesus’ followers on that Sabbath? Would you have carried out any of your normal religious rituals? Would you have given up? Would you have run away and hidden? Or would you have cherished the spices ready to go and anoint his body the following day as one final act of devotion?
When all seems lost and all seems hopeless, may God give us the faith of those faithful women.