Holy Saturday, March 31
Scripture: Mark 15:42-46
We have a pretty good idea where Jesus was buried. Maybe you have been to the site in Jerusalem, within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Just in the past year, a team of scientists from National Geographic and the Technical University of Athens have cleaned, repaired, and restored the site, and in doing so found that two thousand years of building over it, followed by subsequent destructions, earthquake-induced collapses, and further rebuilding, nevertheless have left intact what is believed by many to be the actual tomb of Christ.
In the Gospel according to Mark, we hear that Joseph of Arimathea was a good man who was trying to do the right thing by providing a decent burial place for the crucified Jesus. He was going about the necessary steps, working through the bureaucracy of death if you will, to try to bring some decency to an indecent development.
But, he had no idea what he was about to help facilitate – at a tomb that would become an immediate mystery, and remain so millennia later.
Pilgrims were drawn to it right away, and still are, as I was myself a few years ago.
Standing near it, you have to be a bit skeptical of the location being genuine, even when you want to believe it is; too much has happened in two thousand years to make it likely what you look upon is the actual place. Now, however, thanks to the recent archaeological examination, religion and science seem to have united in their beliefs and findings: it probably IS the place. What a momentous development!
Yet, for Christians, there perhaps is a more important answer to the question of what might be where.
On that day after the crucifixion it could not be anticipated that the significance of the tomb’s location might diminish. It was not known that the tomb itself might become not what is, but what was. It was not understood that here, for the first time, would be given meaning to the discounting words of the Apostle, Paul: “Oh, grave, where is thy victory?”
Prayer: In our search for where things might be or may have been, may we be ever reminded foremost that wherever they are or are not, our God is here now, in this place.
– John Sparkman