Sunday, May 2, 2010
Yes, Buried Among the Dead
(Again, from G. Campbell Morgan in Luke 23)
Luke tells us also that His kinsfolk were watching from afar. I have no doubt James and Jude were there, His two brothers after the flesh, and I believe that this was the hour when they were constrained to yield to His mastery. I do not know that. At any rate, it is an arresting fact that they were in the upper room with the disciples, when they were waiting for the coming of the Spirit, and they were there with the disciples in the Temple when the Spirit came.
The narrative ends on a note of exquisite beauty, the account of the burial of Jesus. No hand but the hand of love ever touched the dead body of Jesus. They were lovers who took Him down from the Cross. They were lovers who provided the grave and carried Him there. Here appears Joseph of Arimathaea. Luke is careful to describe him; "a councillor," that is, a member of the Sanhedrim; " a good and righteous man;" "he had not consented to their counsel and deed "-that is, he did not vote for the death of Jesus; "looking for the Kingdom of God. John tells us that he was "a disciple . . . but secretly for fear of the Jews” It is an interesting fact that on that day, when He was dead, those who cared for His final burial were secret disciples, Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus. In the hour of crisis, it is often some loud-voiced Peter who says, Though all forget Thee, yet will not I, who fails, while the secret disciples suddenly gain courage. Joseph's action was that of his love, even in the hour of keen disappointment. That was the feeling of all the disciples. Love is stronger than death, and they were loving hands.
The same thing is seen in the women.
"The women, who had come with Him out of Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how His body was laid."
How they loved Him, those disappointed women.
There is where we now leave Him, the dead Christ. Think of it. If that is all, you and I are of all men most pitiable! William Newman wrote about that grave,
"Twas night! Still night!
A solemn silence hung upon the scene;
The keen, bright stars shone with unclouded light,
Calm and serene.
Hushed was the Tomb!
The heavy stone before its entrance- lay;
No light broke in upon its silent gloom
No starry ray.
The moonlight beamed;
It hung upon that garden soft and clear,
Around the watchful guard its radiance gleamed
From helm to spear.
The Tomb was sealed!
The watch patrolled before its entrance lone;
The bright night every passing
step revealed; None neared the stone!"
The dead Christ!
But He was not dead. He was not dead, even then. He had descended into Hades. He had gone into the world of spirits. What for? All I know is that in that world of departed spirits He proclaimed His victory. I know no more than that, except that He welcomed the malefactor, and led him into Paradise,
“Today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.
(Painting by Joseph Cross)