This is called Holy Week, and the very name begs us to consider holiness itself.
Holy Week is intended not only to remind us of Jesus' journey in that climactic week, but to prepare ourselves again to follow him.
Prepare yourself now in the words and thoughts ahead.next >
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 15:42-47next >
They took Jesus down from the cross. He had no tomb in which to be buried, so a brave and respected man named Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate, the Roman governor, for permission to prepare him for burial. Pilate documented Jesus’ death and released the body to Joseph, who wrapped it in linen and buried him in a tomb cut in the rock, rolling a stone against the door to keep out animals and robbers.
Some of Jesus’ female followers saw where he was buried, and believed it was the last, sad preparation anyone could make for him.
But God was preparing the world for a wonderful surprise. Holy Week ends as Easter begins. In the morning the women will discover that the stone is rolled away. What could that mean?
Bill Leonardnext >
O God, in the sadness of Good Friday, help me to prepare for the unexpected promise of Easter. Amen.next >
Prepared as you are,
Follow now your Lord,
Who goes ahead of you
To make ready the way,
To show you how to walk
This dark path.
Trust him to know where he leads you.
Bill Leonard is a professor of Baptist studies and church history and religion at Wake Forest University, where he is the founding dean of the School of Divinity.