Saturday, April 23, 2011

a very large stone against the door of the tomb

Mark 15:40-47
As evening had already come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, [the day] before the Sabbath, Joseph, he of Arimathea, noble and honorable in rank and a respected member of the council (Sanhedrin), who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, daring the consequences, took courage and ventured to go to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

But Pilate wondered whether He was dead so soon, and, having called the centurion, he asked him whether Jesus was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that He was indeed dead, he gave the body to Joseph.

And Joseph bought a fine linen cloth for swathing dead bodies, and, taking Him down from the cross, he rolled Him up in the fine linen cloth and placed Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of a rock. Then he rolled a very large stone against the door of the tomb.

There is always a remnant. Although the crowd mocked and spat on Him, there were those who waited and watched from afar, looking for God's timing to act. And we find several woman and a man named here who were doing just that.

Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome were women of courage, who may have watched from afar, but could not leave Him. They watched the crucifixion, and then watched Jesus be buried in the tomb, waiting for their time to act. They were in no hurry to run before God's timing, but nor were they far away. They watched and waited.

Joseph, who was not even part of Jesus' party, was the man who stepped in with courage. Courage seemed to be the word here, as the story closes. Some had courage. Some did not. The ones who did were able to act on the behalf of God in a bold way, and see how God paved the way for Joseph -- Pilot allowed him to have the Body.

Watchfulness, patience, courage. All are needed to be part of the remnant, to be fruitfully used by God. Missing watchfulness means you miss it, you can not hear the message of God and know what to do for the time. Missing patience means you are reckless and can move ahead and therefore away from God. Missing courage means you are inactive and miss out on the power of God in effective service to Him. We need His power because the stone in front of the tomb is too big for us alone. But in Him, all things are possible!

Father, help me have all three of these things. Allow me to stay close to You, listening always, not running ahead, but neither lagging behind in what You would have me do. Allow me to have the balance of these three things by being well rooted in You.

Use me too, Beloved. I want to see Your power in me. Your power, not mine. And I will give You glory.

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