The disciples, except for John, scattered and went into hiding in fear for their own lives. His mother grieved over the death of the Son who was gifted to her as a young woman – the child who would grow in the fear of the Lord – the baby boy, she quietly nursed close to her breast – the little boy at play – the young teenager who worked aside His stepfather as a carpenter – the young man who knew the scriptures better than every learned scholar. The apostle that Jesus loved, John, led Mary away from the horrendous scene and comforted her as she took one last look at her bloodied Son. She would now be in John’s care, as Jesus had requested.
As Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus carried the body away from the morbid scene, the sun which had darkened at the point of Jesus’ death, began to reappear. A few curiosity seekers lingered in the shadows to gloat and mock the three who died that day. Joseph was a rich man who made arrangements with Pilate to bury Jesus in a tomb upon His death. The tomb was intended to be for himself, but He knew it was meant for Jesus.
There was little time to get the body ready for burial. The usual preparations included bathing the body, cutting the hair and beard and finally wrapping Him in linens filled with spices. Soon the Sabbath Day would be on them. There was barely three hours to get Jesus ready.
The body was ripped and flesh torn away from muscle, where the lash had struck Him beyond recognition. The head which bore a crown of thorns was covered with matted blood, sweat and spit from hateful onlookers. His hands and feet were bruised and cut deeply by the long iron spikes. His eyes were swollen and His entire body covered with the scars of His suffering.
The men tenderly cared for the smitten Lamb of God in those short hours. They respectfully laid him on the bier after cleansing Him the best they could. Through sadness and tears, they covered His face with the final shroud. They could not even have a proper funeral for Jesus, because the Sabbath was upon them. They left.
The Son of God was dead. The ransom was paid. Salvation had been won for the entire sinful world. On that Sabbath morning, after a large stone was placed over the tomb, they must’ve been so confused. What was the purpose of this man’s life? Why was he put to death? What words could explain away the fact that He no longer would lead them or secure their future? What was it all about?
As we ponder those questions, we could have our doubts as well. We could question the purpose of Christ’s ministry on earth. We could think He was just another false Messiah, but what happened the following morning would allay all fears and questions. He has secured our future. Through His death, we live. His victory over death assures us a spot in His heavenly realm, where there will be no more tears – no more suffering – only peace!