WHO HAS THE BODY?
Luke 23:50 – 24:3
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BlogFam, I am not in the Funeral Home business but I can imagine that when the funeral home acquires the remains of a prominent public figure, that has to be very good for business. I intend no disrespect to the family and I am not making light of the role and responsibility of undertakers across this country. I am just clear that from a business perspective and even perhaps from a pastoral care perspective, the funeral home which has the body is an important detail. I have attended too many funerals to count of people that I know and people that I did not know and one recurring question that will be asked by somebody involved or just being nosy is this: WHO HAS THE BODY?
This is a critical question for many reasons. The family and friends of the deceased want to know that their loved one’s body will be respectfully cared for and that all arrangements will be handled thoughtfully and efficiently. Funeral Homes, just like any other business or organization, have a reputation to maintain – or perhaps recover – and so the answer to the question, WHO HAS THE BODY carries a lot of weight.
In our text for today, we are backtracking for a moment to the close of chapter 23 just before the resurrection of Jesus.
Now there was a man named Joseph, member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.
Joseph has Jesus’ body. Joseph has the body of one of the most prominent public figures in that day. Joseph has the body of one of this religious rebel and this social revolutionary. Joseph has the body of the one who claims to be the Son of God and the Son of Man. Joseph has Jesus’ body. I think that this is a noteworthy moment in the text. Joseph has courageously chosen to handle the arrangements for a man who has been left alone. Those with whom he lived and served, taught and healed, fed and freed are not present to make this claim but Joseph, a good and upright man, who had not consented to the council’s decision asks for Jesus’ body.
Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
There was obviously no funeral or memorial service as we are familiar with today. But for some reason, this man Joseph is moved with compassion to care for the lifeless body of Jesus. He wanted Jesus to have a decent burial and he made the necessary arrangements for Jesus body to be disposed of properly. For according to their religious law - If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole/tree, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole /tree overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole/tree is underGod’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. [Deuteronomy 21:22-23] So in obedience to the law and sympathy for the innocent, Joseph does what is necessary for Jesus to have a proper burial.
But he is not the only person concerned about the care of Jesus’ body.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
There was a group of women who loved their Lord and who wanted to pay their respects by prolonging the decomposition process of Jesus body by preparing spices and perfumes to anoint His body. I imagine that they asked that same question –WHO HAS THE BODY? This was significant so that they would know where to go to anoint Jesus body. So they did what they needed to do in order to find out the answer to their question. BUT the preparation they made was not fast enough because On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
WHO HAS THE BODY?
In our text for today, Pilate releases the body of Jesus to Joseph. Joseph is given permission to take the body of Jesus and he prepares it for burial. Joseph buries the body of Jesus. There are women who want access to the body. So they follow Joseph to where the body of Jesus is laid. Those same women go home and then return with spices and perfume to anoint the body of Jesus. When they arrive to anoint the body of Jesus,they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
WHO HAS THE BODY?
Friends, I know that this might seem like a strange thought for our consideration on today but it is here in the text and worthy of our contemplation. When I think about the many bodies that Jesus has touched – healed – fed – set free during his ministry up until his trial, conviction, and crucifixion, only one man and a few women are concerned about his body after his death. All of the people whose bodies were made better because of the life and miracles he graciously allowed to flow through his body into theirs are absent when His body is no longer capable of doing more for them.
I am struck by this thought because as we carry on our lives today using our bodies to fulfill God’spurpose in this world, there will be many who will pull from the energy of your bodies in order to sustain their hopes, their dreams, their plans, their vision and as soon as your body has nothing left to give, they move on. When your body is drained and sick and tired and hurting and in need of more than you can give, there will only be a few who will be concerned enough to check on your body - show care for your body –visit your body – prepare healthy meals for your body – embrace your body - and desire to see your body whole.
My sistas and brothas, unfortunately,there are some who could care less about your body and will expect your body to rest in peace where the other lifeless bodies are laid in state. There are some who will not want to see your body healed, fed, set free, delivered, nor resurrected from the terrible and abusive situations and circumstances you might find your body. BUT THANKS BE TO GOD that because the body of Jesus has endured the pangs of death and has experienced the departure of life,Jesus understands what your body is going through right now. AND MOST OF ALL, because his body can no longer be found buried in the place where dead bodies are laid, your body can draw from the resurrecting power that raised His body from death into life and you, too, can rise again and again and again!!!
BlogFam, WHO HAS YOUR BODY?
I pray that today your answer is Jesus. I pray that you would give your body to Jesus and that whatever your body is in need of, will come to and flow through your body so that your body will no longer be where the other nay-saying bodies thought your body would be. Do not let your body get stuck in the places reserved for dead bodies. Your body is full of promise and potential and I believe that there is more work for your body to do in the Kingdom of God. AND lastly, on today, I also encourage you to speak life into the bodies of those around you so that they, too, will know the resurrecting power of our Lord in their own body and together your bodies can give glory to the one who created our bodies and uses our bodies and loves our bodies more than we will ever know.
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