April 08, 2023
Matthew 27: 57-66
Today’s gospel reading is Matthew’s account of the events that occurred the afternoon of Christ’s crucifixion. We are introduced to Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph was a member of the Jewish council and was present during the plotting of the Chief Priests, elders and scribes to put Jesus to death. “He was a good and faithful man” awaiting expectantly the coming of the Kingdom of God. He was a wealthy man, and seeing what was about to happen, he had a new tomb hewn in a rock. He obtained permission from Pilate to remove Christ’s body from the cross. We know from yesterday’s gospel reading from John that Nicodemus was there and helped him. Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin. He had gone to talk to Jesus after dark “for fear of the Jews.” Together, they removed Christ’s body from the cross, wrapped it in a clean cloth, and then carried the body of our Lord to the tomb that Joseph had prepared. They laid it in the
tomb, and went away. Both of these men were referred to as being “secret disciples” of the Lord.
“Mary and the other Mary were there sitting opposite the tomb.” Of course they were there. They were always there. In vs.55 preceding today’s reading we read, “Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James” the apostle (the other Mary). Throughout the gospels we read of these women who ministered to Christ. It was their support that allowed Him to do His work. They would have provided food for Him and his disciples, probably washed their clothes, and I would suspect, arranged for lodging as they traveled. They were there from the beginning. They were there at the crucifixion. They were there until the very end. When Joseph and Nicodemus left the tomb, these two women stayed. They couldn’t leave. Not yet. They overcame their fear of the Jews and the dark in a very dangerous place. They sit there, cold and weary, broken hearted. These were strong women, steadfast in their faith and brave enough to be public disciples of the Lord. Unlike Joseph and Nicodemus, the “secret disciples,” may we all overcome our fears and live our Christian lives publicly in service to the King of Salvation.
Today is April the 8th, my mother’s birthday. She was a woman of steadfast faith who set my feet on my Spiritual Path at an early age. I would not be the man I am today without her faithful guidance. To her and to the many women of steadfast faith that call St. John’s their home, “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”