Wednesday, August 22nd. Mark 15:42-47

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid. Mark 15:42-47

Joseph and Mary were common names in first century Judaism.  To name a child “Joseph” or “Mary” was to honor the memory of great heroes of the faith.

Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob and Rachel, sold into slavery yet protected by God and put into a position where he could later rescue his family from a famine.  Without Joseph, there would be no story of the Hebrew people, no salvation history.

Miriam first appears in the Bible in Exodus 2.  Pharaoh, concerned about the growing Hebrew population, decreed that every male child born among the Hebrews was to be put to death.  When Moses was born, his mother put him in a papyrus basket in the Nile river, hoping that he would be spared.  Miriam, his sister, stood close by, watching what would happen.

When Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile she discovered the baby in the basket.  Miriam the approached her and asked, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”  Granted permission to do just that, Miriam brought Moses’ mother who was allowed to nurse and care for Moses as he grew.  Without Miriam, there would be no Moses, no escape from Israel, no salvation history.

Many years later, after escaping the Egyptians by crossing the Red Sea, Miriam, now named a prophetess and leader of the Hebrews with her brothers Moses and Aaron, gathers a chorus of women:  Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” Exodus 15:20-21

Many years later, at another turning point in salvation history, who should God choose to raise his only Son but Mary and Joseph?

And now at the cross, another Joseph and other Marys gather to do what must next be done.  This Joseph, a leader among the same council who have conspired to kill Jesus (though not listed among the parties at the trial) risks his life and reputation in demanding the body of Jesus from Pilate.  The Marys, having themselves been touched by the ministry of Jesus, see where Jesus has been placed and they begin their preparations to see that Jesus’ body is treated with respect and dignity.

Could this be the end of the story?

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, we look back through history and see the signs, again and again, of the consistency of your love and care for those who bear your name in the world.  In so many surprising ways you confront the powers of evil with the persistence of love.  May we be numbered among those who do their part in caring and carrying your love to all.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


One Response to “Wednesday, August 22nd. Mark 15:42-47”

  1. chap Says:

    thanks for the history reminder. I have followed you for years & so glad you heard the call to return. Go bless. : )+

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