A reflection by Reverend Jo Neary on the Jesus being taken down from the cross.
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 and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
One of the simplest structures I use with the children in school when we reflect on a bible passage is this.
- What do you like about this passage?
- What do you think it important about this passage?
- Where are you in the passage?
Answer those questions for yourself. You may have more than one thought or suggestion for each question.
Take some time to explore the ideas and themes you have come up with. Ask God to help you recognise what is important in this passage for you today.
My reflections – and some questions to explore
I like the women standing looking on from a distance. Not all of them are named. Many of the women in the bible remain anonymous, they were not considered important enough to name. Yet Jesus affirmed women constantly in his ministry, in his actions and in his conversations. Would you have been able to stand from a distance and look on? If you put yourself at a distance to the crucifixion what do you see? What do you think God is doing? What does Jesus’ death mean for you?
Is wonder if it is important that Joseph from Arimathea was a rich man? What might it have cost him in terms of reputation to go to Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body? Why does he feel moved to such a risky act and such a generous act? What risky or generous act does your faith move you to? What might God be calling you to do today for him?
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary do not just last the course at the crucifixion, they are there after his burial, opposite the tomb, keeping watch. Do we match their persistence and dedication in remaining close to Jesus? Could we put ourselves alongside them?
Lord, as we watch and wait through Holy Saturday, and through this difficult time of lockdown, help us to know you in the waiting. Amen