Mark 15:42-47 (New International Version)
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 Joseph saw where he was laid.
How heartbreaking. “The body.” To the disciples, to the people, to Joseph of Arimethea, that is all that Jesus is now: “the body.” The Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate “gave the body to Joseph.” Joseph has the body removed from the cross, and has it carried to the tomb where the body will be laid down for eternity. After all that has happened, after all that Jesus has done… this is how it ends: “the body.”
Why is it that time goes by so quickly during the happy times in our lives, but drags by so slowly during the difficult hours? The moments we would like to go on forever pass by in a blink, and the painful times linger and linger, and linger.
I imagine that the time following the finality of their Messiah’s excruciating death must have been a heart-breaking experience for the disciples. Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb, which his followers couldn’t even visit because it was the Sabbath. So they sat, and they mourned. They were full of fear: if the authorities would crucify Jesus, perhaps they were next! Now that Jesus was gone, where was their hope?
Life, it must have seemed, was over.
When have you felt hopeless, helpless, and afraid?