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Mar 13 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Ninety-five – Matthew 27:57-61

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave. Matthew 27:59-61

Rolling the stone over the entrance of the tomb was the last kindness in a series of generous acts that was shown to Jesus by a wealthy disciple. Joseph sealed Jesus in a stone vault forever and then “went away.” He went away from “the body” that he had obtained from Pilate. He went away from the dream, from the inspired teaching and the obligations of discipleship. He went away because there was nothing else that Jesus could do for him. He went away because a stone had been rolled over the entrance of his own heart, cutting it off from hope in Jesus.

Joseph had to learn how to return to, and conduct his life again in a world without Jesus. At least he still had his wealth. What did those other poor disciples have now, who had given up everything to follow Jesus?

Joseph went away, but Mary and Mary remained there, “sitting opposite the grave.” The word “opposite” appeared earlier in the chapter when Pilate washed his hands “in front” of (or “before”) the crowd (v. 24). What sort of previous life awaited their return? They were not ready to abandon Jesus, to break free from His grip, to settle back into the ordinary, or return to the darkness from which He called them. Joseph turned his back on the tomb and went away, but they sat facing the tomb with no where else to go.

Heavenly Father, it is true that we go through dark days when Your Son is silent and no sign that His hand is moving even slightly. Perhaps our hearts and minds are darkened by the shadow of a large and seemingly immoveable stone. So we assume the Lord Jesus cannot help us and we are on our own. But the silence can be deceptive and the stone that rolled one way can be rolled the other. Give us the grace to live facing the tomb if that is where we last saw Jesus. For there is yet one great miracle to witness and revelation to absorb, and in it we will experience His resurrection and ours as well.

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