Google+ 03/30/13 Spectacular Waiting!

Matthew 27:62-66

 

The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate.

They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive:

‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day.

This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body

And then telling everyone he was raised from the dead!

If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”

Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.”

So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it. 

 

If Good Friday wasn't enough ridicule for Jesus, let's tune in to the Saturday morning meeting between Pilate, the chief priests, and the Pharisees.  As you remember, Joseph of Arimathea has gone to the Romans and asked for Jesus's body, since the Sabbath is quickly approaching.  If you want to talk about a vulnerable position, Joseph, a member of the Sanherin,  certainly has taken a stand.  At a time when most are running from any association with Jesus, Joseph steps up and asks for the body of Jesus.  How better to identify yourself as a Christian!  Jesus died about three in the afternoon and the Sabbath would begin on that same day at sundown.  As Jewish law demanded, Joseph, Nicodemus, and the ladies would need to hurry in their preparation of the body of Jesus.  The never-used tomb in the garden outside Golgotha made for a perfect final resting place for Jesus, mostly because of its proximity and lack of cost.  As the Bible indicates, these precious souls completed the preparation of Jesus in time to observe the Sabbath.  While all of the Jewish people were in the temple observing the Sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees decide to go and meet with Pilate about a major concern.  One of the most important parts of our Scripture today is that we find that the chief priests and Pharisees were actually listening and remembering Jesus's teachings.  Obviously, they use them for the wrong purpose, but they did hear them!  Since Jesus had predicted that He would rise after three days, the people who engineered His crucifixtion wanted to take precautions that would restrict, prohibit, and eliminate the possible, upcoming martyrdom of Jesus.  They were sure that the disciples would sneak into the tomb and remove His body and then proclaim that He had risen as He said He would.  All of the Pharisees know that if this happens they will be "worse off than we were before."  So Pilate gives into their demands and has the tomb sealed, so that no one can come in or go out.  He also posts a guard to make sure that his wishes and restrictions are enforced.  In Roman days, this guard would be subject to death if he left his post or allowed any non-desired result to occur on his watch.  The striking part of this Scripture is the part that is not written.  Where are the majority of people who on Palm Sunday yelled, "Hosanna," and on Good Friday yelled, "Crucify Him?"  They are in the temple celebrating the Sabbath!!!  What?  They just crucified God's Son.  They just chose Barabbas over Jesus.  How could this be?  The truth is these folks are as misguided as many of our local New Testament Churches today, never getting the message of Jesus, only the pomp and circumstance of the moment.  We must all be careful to not say one thing and do another.  Let's learn that, once and for all, during our "three day waiting period" this year.  While we wait for Jesus's prophecy to be fulfilled, let's learn that being a true Christian is more than showing up at the "temple" on the Sabbath.  Being a Christian is a lifestyle that finds us confronted with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter every day!  Stay true to God.  Be Joseph of Arimethea and be unafraid of the consequences in the world of claiming Jesus, every moment of every day, especially when it is not popular.  Avoid the "shock value" that many churches and ministers resort to at this time of the year.  Simply preach the Scripture.  Holy Week has all the drama, shock value and miracles we need to keep us interested, without us creating "new gimmicks" that we think are somehow clever.  Today, let's simply wait patiently on the Lord!  The result will be spectacular without our embellishment!!!