I first published this post ten years ago: April 4, 2010.
My how times have changed.
There’ll be no church service this year, no big family gathering at which to eat entirely too much food, hunt for eggs, and cheer on The Masters.
Rather, Easter of twenty-twenty will be a rather unassuming affair. Which, given the one whom we celebrate, just might be perfect.
So, as we quietly celebrate Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday, Easter Monday, and beyond may we find ourselves a little less like the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, too worn out with the goings on of the day, to focus on what truly matters . . . a little less like Peter, too quick to attack those with whom we disagree . . . and a lot more like Joseph of Arimathea, continuing on, doing what we can, where we are, with hope in our hearts.
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus . . .
There were many that day who watched Jesus die. Some mourned, others laughed and scorned. There was one man, however, who stood from the crowd. He was among them, yes, but he was different. And it was more than his place in society.
Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man–a man both well-off and well respected. He was a member of the Council, of the ruling body of the Jews. He was associated with those who condemned Christ to die; yet he was a follower of the very man they so despised. He stood with the Council as they made their demands; yet he did not share in their convictions. Joseph of Arimathea had convictions of his own. Though he feared the men he ruled alongside, he knew they held no power over death. Though he knew his Messiah would be killed, he believed He would rise again.
That’s where he differed from other believers.
He watched Jesus being beaten, spit upon, laughed at, and hung upon a cross. And while it pained his heart, he refused to lose hope. You see, he did not focus on the here-and-now. He focused on the words of prophecy. He believed Jesus was who He said–and that meant He would rise again. So as Jesus uttered his final words and breathed his last . . . as His followers held tight to one another and wept . . . as the dark clouds gathered overhead and panic began to spread throughout the crowd . . . Joseph sneaked away.
Gathering every ounce of courage he possessed, he approached Pilate. He asked–he pleaded–for the body of Jesus. When his request was granted, he stole the limp body of his Savior away. He did not bury him with the guilty, as the Council would demand, but buried him in a new tomb. He did not wrap Him according to burial custom, as the believers would demand, but wrapped him in fresh linens.
Then he waited for the third day . . .
As we go forth from this Easter season, let us be like Joseph of Arimathea. Let us truly believe in Christ and His resurrection power. Let us shake off our sackcloth and rejoice–for the tomb, my friends, is empty!