Worship In Heaven: You Have Not Been Called to the Tomb to Worship A Crucified Christ

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically today’s passage is found in the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament book. “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said Amon themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid” (Mark 16:1-8). “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first unto Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not” (Mark 16:9-11). “After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them” (Mark 16:12-13). “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upgraded them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:14-18). “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:19-20). When you come to the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative of the life of ministry of the Lord Jesus as it was written by John Mark you will find the second account of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the twenty-eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle Matthew we find the first account of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ while here in this passage we find the second of four unique accounts of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. What makes this truly astonishing when you take a look at it is how this chapter begins—particularly how it begins with women who rose very early in the morning on the third day. The purpose for these women rising early in the morning on the third day was that they might anoint the body of the Lord Jesus with spices which they had prepared for Him. In the opening verses of this passage of Scripture you will find John Mark writing how when the sabbath was past Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome had brought sweet spices that they might come and anoint the body of Jesus. I have to admit that the words and language found in this passage of Scripture is actually quite remarkable and astonishing when you take the time to think about it for in the final chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Joseph of Arimathaea begging the body of the Lord Jesus from Pilate after He had given up the ghost that He might properly bury it in. His own tomb. I have to admit the more I read the words which are found within the four New Testament gospels the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus and the events which took place thereafter. As you read the four gospel narratives written concerning the events of Jesus’ life and ministry you will find it written and recorded how Joseph of Arimathaea went unto Pilate begging the body of the Lord Jesus that he might wrap the body and properly bury it in his own tomb. Oh there is something which we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for it comes directly on the heels of Jesus yielding up the ghost after crying out with a loud voice proclaiming that it was finished. When the soldiers came around to break the legs of those men who were hanging upon the cross they came to the physical body of Jesus and noticed that He had already been dead. Rather than breaking the legs of the physical body of the Lord Jesus the Roman centurion would take a spear and thrust it in His side as blood and water flowed forth. It is truly captivating to read each of the gospel narratives and consider how this Joseph of Arimathaea who was both a rich man as well as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ was not willing to allow the physical body of the Lord Jesus to remain hanging upon the tree. What’s more is that this disciple of the Lord Jesus would come unto Pilate and beg the body of his Lord not knowing what would become of it if it was just left there upon the cross without anyone coming to claim it and properly dispose of it. This Joseph of Arimathaea would indeed be bold with his pursuit for he would come unto Pilate with one single purpose and that was to beg the physical body of the Lord Jesus that he might properly care for and show reverence unto that One who had been both Master and Lord. The more I read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus and how there was indeed one among the disciples of the Lord Jesus who dared come unto Pilate and ask for the physical body of Jesus. Although He had given up the ghost and although He was no longer among the living—at least until the third day—this rich man who was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ would take the body of the Lord Jesus down from the cross that he might do what he felt was necessary and appropriate for Him. Oh if there is one thing I can’t help but wonder it’s what it was like as this rich man came unto the cross upon which the lifeless and physical body of the Lord Jesus hung. What is it like when you were a disciple of the Lord Jesus knowing that He was just crucified upon a cruel Roman tree being completely and utterly innocent? What emotions did this rich disciple of the Lord Jesus feel within his heart and soul as He came unto the place of the Skull that he might take the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus down from the cross? Not only this but what was that journey from the hall and place of Pilate like as this rich man would come unto the place where Jesus had suffered and died? When and as he approached the cross upon which the Lord Jesus died I can’t help but wonder what went through his mind as he would draw nearer to the site of the crucifixion. Scripture does not reveal whether or not Joseph would come to Golgotha and witness Jesus hanging there upon the cross while He was still alive. There is no indication within Scripture that the rich man who was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ came to the scene of the crucifixion while Jesus was still alive witnessing and beholding all the scorn, the mockery and the ridicule of Jesus. The only thing we know for sure is that this rich man who was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ would beg the physical body of the Lord Jesus Christ having learned that He was dead and that His lifeless body hung there upon the cross. Oh it would have been one thing for the physical body of the Lord Jesus to hang there while He was still living and drawing breath, however, it would have been something entirely and altogether different for the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus to remain upon the cross. As I continue to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but be reminded of the fact that this rich man who was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ was actually doing something that was incredibly unique and powerful. This rich man would come unto Pilate begging the body of the Lord Jesus that he might protect and preserve it—perhaps even from physical destruction and disposal. Scripture provides no clear insight into what the Romans would have done with the physical bodies of those who were crucified. Had Joseph of Arimathaea not come to Pilate and begged the physical body of the Lord Jesus I can’t help but wonder what would and could have happened to the body after He had died. We know that the physical bodies of those who were crucified upon the cross would not be permitted to remain hanging upon the cross in honor and observance of the sabbath as well as the Passover which was celebrated at that time. This rich man who was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus would indeed come unto Pilate doing something which Scripture does not reveal whether or not anyone else would do. In all reality I can’t help but view the actions of Joseph of Arimathaea as being absolutely extraordinary when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to one man’s desire to show reverence to Him. Oh Scripture does not reveal what this man’s journey was like as this man would indeed be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and the only mention we have of this man was that he would come unto Pilate and beg the physical body after he had learned of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something which is incredibly unique when you take the time to think about it for it brings us face to face with the powerful truth surrounding this man’s actions and how he was divinely used to preserve and protect the physical body of the Lord Jesus. The more I think about the actions of this rich man who was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ the more I can’t help but wonder if he was actually divinely used of the living God to guard, protect and preserve the physical body of the Lord Jesus. Scripture is unclear what might have and what could have happened to the physical body of the Lord Jesus after He had died upon the cruel Roman tree upon which He was hung. Is it possible that the Romans would have taken the physical and lifeless body of the Lord Jesus down from the cross and simply disposed of it? Was there perhaps a mass grave where the Romans would have disposed of the bodies of those whom they crucified? Is it possible that the Roman centurions and soldiers would have taken down the physical bodies of those who were crucified upon the cross and simply discarded the bodies that they might use the cross to crucify someone else. Oh even as I sit here right now thinking about the cross upon which the Lord Jesus Christ died I can’t help but wonder what happened to the crosses after one was crucified upon them. Did the Romans dispose of and discard the crosses after men and women were crucified upon them? Were the crosses upon which men and women were killed and crucified upon themselves destroyed as the Romans would use brand new crosses upon which they would crucify those whom they found guilt of crimes which were punishable by death? Oh this is something I find absolutely and incredibly unique when you think about it for imagine if the crosses which were themselves instruments of death and destruction weren’t discarded after they were used to crucify and put to death those whom Rome found guilty of crimes punishable by death. Imagine if the crosses which were used to crucify and put to death those who were found guilty according to Roman law and popular opinion were re-used that others might be crucified and put to death upon them. Scripture provides absolutely no basis nor any proof for the cross upon which the Lord Jesus Christ died upon as being discarded and disposed of and there is indeed a part of me that can’t help but wonder what would have and what did happen to that cross upon which the Lord Jesus died. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what happened to the cross upon which the physical body of the Lord Jesus was killed and crucified upon after His lifeless body was taken down and removed from it. Is it possible the cross was perhaps taken down and cleaned that it might be used by the Romans again to kill and crucify more individuals whom they found guilty of crimes which were punishable by death. Scripture gives no indication that this cross was used by the Romans to kill and crucify the Lord Jesus alone and there is a part of me that finds it unique and interesting thinking about whether or not the cross would be used again by the Roman centurions. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what would and could have happened with this cross after the Lord Jesus Christ had been crucified and put to death. Undoubtedly that cross would have been stained with the blood of the Lord Jesus even after the physical and lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was taken down and removed from it. I know this might never happen but I can’t help but wonder what that cross looked liked after the physical and lifeless body of the Lord Jesus Christ was taken down. Imagine looking at and beholding that cross AFTER the body of the Lord was taken down from it. Imagine looking at and beholding the cross upon which the Lord Jesus Christ died and seeing it completely and utterly stained with and by the blood of the Lord Jesus. Imagine being a disciple of the Lord Jesus and coming unto that place and seeing the remnants of the blood of the Lord Jesus which undoubtedly was still present upon the cross upon which He died. I fully realize and recognize that there is absolutely no evidence found in Scripture of the cross being reused by the Romans to kill and crucify others whom they found guilty of crimes punishable by death, however, there is a part of me that wonders what that cross looked like after the physical body of the Lord Jesus was taken down. Imagine Joseph of Arimathaea removing the nails from the wrists and feet of the Lord Jesus Christ that He might take the body down and remove it from the cross. We know Joseph of Arimathaea came unto Pilate and begged the body of the Lord Jesus and yet Scripture is entirely unclear whether or not Joseph himself went unto the scene of the crucifixion and came unto the cross to personally take down the body of the Lord. If Joseph of Arimathaea did indeed come unto the place of the crucifixion himself and took down the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus there is something incredibly unique about what it must have been like. It’s one thing to approach the scene of the crucifixion of the Lord and to see His body hanging there upon the cross, however, it is something else entirely to come to the cross itself and raise a ladder that he might climb it to carefully remove the nails from the wrists of the Lord Jesus. I would dare say the nails which were used to crucify the Lord Jesus would have had to be carefully handled—and not only the nails themselves but also the actual body of the Lord Jesus—for merely removing the nails wouldn’t have been enough as there would have had to be additional support for the body of the Lord Jesus as He was brought down from the cross. There is a part of me that feels that Joseph of Arimathaea did not show up at the scene of the cross alone and by himself for taking down the lifeless body of the Lord would have required more than one person to actually support the body as it was being carefully taken down from the cross. Imagine being Joseph of Arimathaea and not only being a disciple of the Lord but also hoping within your heart and soul that He was indeed the Messiah. Stop for a moment and consider what it might have been like for Joseph of Arimathaea to come unto the place of the crucifixion and be that close to the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. Imagine coming to the place of the Skull and looking upon and beholding the physical body of the Lord Jesus. Is it possible that Joseph had to take some time as he looked upon and beheld the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus? Could Joseph have taken time to actually look upon the body of his Lord and Master before he would begin the process of removing the nails from His hands and feet that the body might be removed from the cross? Oh there is a part of me that wonders what it was like for Joseph of Arimathaea as he came unto the cross and not only came near to the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus but actually began touching and handling it. What was it like for Joseph of Arimathaea as he would come unto the place of the Skull and remove the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus from the cross knowing that he intended on properly caring for it as he would place it within his own tomb that it might be preserved and protected. We know that after the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was wrapped in linen cloths soaked and saturated with spices and ointments a stone was rolled before the entrance of the tomb. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what it was like for Joseph and Nicodemus to come unto the place of the Skull that they might remove the body of the Lord Jesus but also what it was like for them as they not only wrapped the physical body of the Lord Jesus in those linen clothes, laid His bound and lifeless body in the tomb and as the stone was rolled in front of the entrance. I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the four gospel narratives and I can’t help but wonder about the cross AFTER the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was removed from it. Once the nails were carefully removed from His hands and feet and His body was taken down from the cross I can’t help but wonder what that cross actually looked like. Imagine the cross upon which the Lord Jesus had not only carried but also upon which He had died still stood there upon Golgotha in the place of the Skull. I can’t help but wonder what that scene looked like as the physical bodies of the two thieves were taken down and removed from the cross and even as the physical body of the Lord Jesus was taken down and removed from the cross. What’s more is I really can’t help but get the thought and image of the cross after the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was taken down and removed from the cross. There is not a doubt in my mind that when the Lord Jesus was scourged by the Roman centurions in the Praetorium that His flesh was literally ripped from His physical person. What’s more is that as Jesus would be placed upon the beams of the cross and His physical body would be pressed against it I can’t help but wonder if there weren’t parts of the cross that further ripped into His flesh. As the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus were nailed to the cross and as His physical body hung there upon the tree I can’t help but wonder if not only were there parts of His physical body which were embedded upon the cross. Pause for a moment and picture the sight of the cross after the physical body of the Lord Jesus was taken down as it just stood there with the Lord of glory no longer being nailed to it. I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the sight of the cross after the physical body of the Lord Jesus was taken down and removed from the cross as there was perhaps not only His blood that soaked and stained the cross but also as there might have even been parts of His flesh that were also embedded upon the cross. Imagine looking at and beholding the cross of the Lord Jesus upon which He died and looking at how it had been stained with and by the blood of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is there might have even been fresh blood that was still upon the cross after hiS physical and lifeless body was taken down and removed from it. Oh there is something truly unique and powerful about the cross upon which the Lord Jesus died upon for there is something beautiful and captivating about His blood having stained the beams of that cross. I would imagine that the blood of the Lamb stained the cross beams of the cross as His hands were outstretched and as His feet were nailed to the vertical beam of the cross. Jesus hung there suspended between earth and sky upon the cross and that would have been a long time for His blood to stain and soak that wooden instrument of death and destruction. Imagine the physical body of the Lord Jesus having shed so much blood that it would not only drip from the various parts of His body but also as it would soak and stain the cross itself. What an interesting and astonishing sight it would have been for the Lord Jesus to be taken down from the cross sand that cruel instrument of death would still remain there at Golgotha. Oh we don’t know if the physical body of the Lord Jesus was taken down from the cross while it stood there raised in the earth or if the cross was removed from the place where it was planted and laid down on the ground. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear whether or not the physical body of the Lord Jesus was removed from the cross while it still stood planted in its place at Golgotha or whether the cross itself was removed from its place and laid flat on the earth that the body of the Lord Jesus might be removed. Please note that the cross was a symbol of discipleship well before it was an instrument and object of the death and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. There would be at least two distinct times when the Lord Jesus would speak of the cross as a symbol of discipleship and walking with and following Him. There would be an initial time when the Lord Jesus would declare that whosoever was not willing to take up and carry their cross was not worthy of Him while there would be another time when the Lord Jesus would also declare that if any man wished to come after Him they must deny themselves and take up the cross and follow Him. With this being said I can’t help but think about the actual cross upon which the Lord Jesus died and was crucified upon for not only would it be an instrument of death and crucifixion but it would be the symbol of the Christian faith and those who would not only believe on the name of the Lord Jesus but would also walk with and follow Him. The cross would indeed be the instrument of the death of the Lord Jesus but it would also be a symbol of the faith upon which our lives are built and centered upon. The cross upon which the Lord Jesus—that instrument which was soaked and stained with the blood of the Lamb which was shed for the remission of sins—would indeed be a powerful witness of the sacrifice which He made as an atonement for our sins. The cross upon which the Lord Jesus was killed and crucified was indeed a wonderful and powerful symbol of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and how it would be part of the foundation upon which our faith was indeed built and would rest upon. The cross upon which the physical body of the Lord Jesus was crucified upon and which was perhaps stained and soaked by His blood would indeed be the cornerstone—or part of the cornerstone of our faith in addition to His resurrection from the grave on the third day and ultimately his ascension and promise of His return. Oh there is something we must needs recognize when we read these words for while I am not seeking to take the cross upon which the Lord Jesus Christ and make it more important than the One who died upon it I have to say there is something to be said about that cross which would have been stained and soaked with the blood of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that after His physical and lifeless body was removed from the cross is it possible that there were still parts of His flesh that were present upon the cross? Is it possible that even as His body was carefully removed from the cross there were parts of His flesh that would remain embedded upon the cross. Stop for a moment and consider what the cross would and could have looked like as not only is it possible for the blood of the Lord Jesus to have soaked and stained the cross but also as there might have been parts of His flesh which would remain upon the cross. There is a part of me that can’t help but think about the cross as an instrument of death and upon which the Lord Jesus died was not a powerful sight—not merely when He hung there but even after His lifeless body was taken down and removed from the cross. Oh I can’t help but think about the words which are found in the Scripture for Joseph of Arimathaea would indeed come to Pilate begging the body of the Lord Jesus Christ that he might properly care for and preserve it within the tomb during those three days it would have to remain before the appointed time when He would be raised from death to life by the very Spirit of the living God. Joseph of Arimathaea would indeed be divinely used by the living and eternal God to carefully remove the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus from the cross and together with. Nicodemus who was also a disciple would wrap the body of the Lord Jesus with linen cloths lined and prepared with spices. I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found within the four New Testament gospels as they call and draw our attention to Joseph of Arimathaea begging the body of the Lord Jesus from Pilate. Scripture is entirely unclear what Joseph’s motives and intentions were for removing the physical body of the Lord Jesus from the cross. Was Joseph simply interested in properly caring for the physical and lifeless body of the Lord Jesus Christ that He might care for it not knowing and being unsure what would and could have happened if no one had come to claim and take care of the body itself? What’s more is there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Joseph of Arimathaea was the only one who thought enough to come unto the place of the skull that he might take the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus down from the cross. We know from the gospel narratives that after the beheading of John the Baptist in the prison by Herod his disciples came and removed the body that they might bury it in the earth. What we don’t know concerning the physical body of the Lord Jesus is what would and could have happened had Joseph of Arimathaea not come unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus that He might properly care for it. Had Joseph of Arimathaea not come unto Pilate and begged the body of the Lord Jesus would any of His disciples have come asking for the body? What’s more is that if Joseph of Arimathaea had not come having been divinely appointed and ordained by the living and eternal God to properly care for and preserve the physical body of the Lord Jesus is it possible that the body of the Lord might not have been properly cared for during those days? Is it possible that Joseph of Arimathaea was divinely chosen and ordained by the living and eternal God to care for the body of the Lord Jesus and even bury it within his own tomb that the body of the Lord Jesus might be preserved and that no destruction might come to it. There is something absolutely incredible when you think about the actions of Joseph of Arimathaea who was a disciple of the Lord Jesus who dared approach Pilate and beg the body of the Lord Jesus. I find it absolutely remarkable when I think about and consider this for there is something beautiful about the image of the cross after the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was taken down and removed from it. That cross would have undoubtedly been stained and soaked with the blood of the Lord Jesus and might even had pieces and fragments of His flesh upon it. IT honestly brings a whole new meaning to the words and language which the Lord Jesus spoke unto the Jews which were in Capernaum in Galilee when He spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The Lord Jesus would emphatically declare that unless they ate the flesh of the Son of God and drank His blood they would have no part in Him. What’s more is that at the Last Supper the Lord Jesus took the bread and after giving thanks, blessing and breaking it He would distribute it to His disciples making the declaration that it was His body which was broken for them. What’s more is the Lord would take the cup which contained the fruit of the vine and would give it unto His disciples declaring unto them that this was the blood of the new covenant in His blood which He would not drink again with them until He drank it anew with them in the kingdom of His Father. There are specific references within the New Testament gospels which deliberately and intentionally speak of the flesh of the Lord Jesus which was ripped and shredded, His body which was broken and His blood which was poured out for the remission and forgiveness of sins. This takes on a whole new meaning when you think about the cross which the Lord Jesus died and was crucified upon after His physical body was removed from it and the visible and tangible evidence of what took place would be stained and etched upon it. After the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was removed from the cross there would indeed be the visible proof of what had taken place and how His body was indeed broken and His blood was shed from the time He was scourged in the Praetorium, to the time His hands and feet were nailed to the cross, to the crown of thorns upon His head, to the spear which was thrust in His side. The more I think about the actions of Joseph of Arimathaea the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus Christ being removed from the cross and as the manifestation and evidence of His sacrifice and death was sill present upon the cross. As the Lord Jesus’ physical body was removed from the cross and ultimately cleaned by Joseph of Arimathaea and perhaps even Nicodemus the beams of the cross would be stained with and by the blood as a testimony and memorial of what had taken place during those six hours on that particular day. For six hours the Lord Jesus Christ hung their suspended between earth and sky as His hands and feet were nailed to the cross as He would be poured out as a drink offering before the living God and Father. His life would be delivered up as a ransom for many and when it was all finished there would come a disciple who up until that moment in time was not mentioned in the gospel narratives. It wouldn’t be until after the Lord Jesus was dead and his lifeless body hung there upon the cross that this disciple would show up begging the body of his Lord that he might not only clean it but also wrap it in linen clothes to be buried in the tomb. What a truly awesome and powerful testimony and witness it is for this rich man who was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus as He would indeed care for, protect and preserve the physical body of the Lord Jesus within the tomb. This rich man and disciple of the Lord Jesus would work together with another disciple of the Lord Jesus—Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night—and would care for and show reverence to the Lord Jesus having cared for and preserve His body within the linen cloths, anointed with the spices and placed within the tomb. Oh it is with this in mind I invite you to consider if you will the following accounts of the actions of this man as it was set forth in each of the gospels as well as the account in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John John which also describes the presence of Nicodemus: “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: HE went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus;. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his o new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Now the next day, that followed the preparation, the chief priests, and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone and setting a watch” (Matthew 27:57-66). “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counseller, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And the bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. And Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid” (Mark 15:42-47). “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counseller; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his a body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment” “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also. Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand” (john 19:38-42). There is something truly remarkable about the words and language which is found in these passages of Scripture for what we find within them is this counseller who lived in Arimathaea which was a city of the Jews coming boldly to Pilate begging the body of the Lord Jesus. Scripture does not at all reveal whether or not the lifeless body of Jesus was already removed from the cross or not, however, in one of these accounts Pilate seemed to marvel that Jesus was already dead. IT would seem that when Pilate gave Joseph of Arimathaea leave to take possession of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ he himself might have journeyed to Golgotha and removed the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus from the cross. I have to admit there is something truly astonishing and unique about this when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to this man who was willing to take responsibility of the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely astonishing and beautiful this action was as this rich ruler who was also a counseller sought to take possession of the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. This rich ruler deliberately and intentionally sought to take full responsibility for the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and was willing to do anything and everything to preserve it. What a truly beautiful picture we see in each of the four gospels as this Joseph of Arimathaea was willing to take and assume responsibility for the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is I would dare say that Joseph of Arimathaea treated the body of the Lord Jesus as he would a member of his own family—perhaps even how he would want to be treated when his time came. We know that Joseph of Arimathaea buried the body of the Lord Jesus in his own tomb which was hewn out of a rock and had a rock rolled in front of the entrance to preserve the body of the Lord. Not only this but within the gospel narratives we find this rich counseller from one of the cities of the Jews deliberately and intentionally taking and assuming full responsibility for the body of the Lord Jesus. I sit here today thinking about and considering the actions of Jospeh of Arimathaea and his actions are somewhat similar to those which Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Salome and the other women did after they beheld the tomb where the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was laid. Scripture reveals how Mary Magdalene out of whom Jesus cast seven demons followed Joseph of Arimathaea to the place where the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus was laid that she might return there with ointments and spices. How incredibly beautiful it is to read of Jospeh of Arimathaea—together with Nicodemus who was a Pharisee—would not only lay the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus in the borrowed tomb but would also wrap it with linen clothes anointed with spices and ointments. When the lifeless physical body of the Lord Jesus was indeed laid within the borrowed tomb it would be completely wrapped in linen clothes which were anointed with spices—an act which would be secondary to the actions which Mary had performed earlier on in the gospel narratives. It is important for us to recognize that Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus the Pharisee would indeed assume full responsibility for the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and would ensure that His body would indeed be cared for. These two men—one a rich man and counseller and the other a Pharisee—were both disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ would anoint the physical body of the Lord Jesus with the spices and ointments as a means of not only preserving it but also trying to prevent it from seeing any decay. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus would indeed continue and carry out that which Mary would commit in the house as she would break the alabaster jar and use the fragrant aroma to anoint the physical body of Jesus which He would declare was preparation for His burial. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in each of the four gospels concerning this particular account of Mary who dared enter into a house uninvited that she might anoint the physical body of the Lord Jesus: “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matthew 26:6-13). “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the letter, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whenever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come a forehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (Mark 14:1-9). “Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a point of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always” (John 12:1-8). “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had hidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touché the him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which os them will love him most: Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that for giveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Luke 7:36-50). The words we find in each of these passages bring us face to face with this encounter in the town of Bethany which was just outside of the city of Jerusalem. What we see here is a beautiful picture of a woman who had received tremendous grace and mercy from the Lord Jesus Christ within her life. Scripture reveals how it was this woman whom the Lord Jesus had driven out seven devils which would have undoubtedly prompted this extravagant and lavish act of worship. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for it’s not merely about this woman who brought her alabaster jar containing very precious ointment and spikenard unto the Lord Jesus Christ. It is indeed true that within this passage of Scripture we find this woman taking this alabaster jar with her as she was making her way and coming unto the Lord Jesus and how she would indeed break this alabaster jar in the presence of Jesus. What she would do after this would be incredibly powerful and captivating when you take the time to consider it for not only would the whole house be filled with the fragrant aroma permeating from this ointment but she would take that ointment and anoint the body of the Lord Jesus. Not only would this woman anoint the head of the Lord Jesus with this ointment but she would also wash His feet with her tears and would dry them with the very hairs of her head—those very hairs of which Jesus would emphatically declare the eternal Father knows the very number of. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for what we find here is a wonderful and beautiful picture of this worship would undoubtedly was not precious but was also costly. Scripture reveals how this alabaster jar together with the contents inside was both costly and precious and yet we aren’t familiar with how Mary came by such an extravagant and elaborate gift. We don’t know if Mary purchased this alabaster jar with the contents inside or whether or not it was given unto her as a gift. What’s more is that we don’t know if Mary was indeed holding on to this alabaster jar with the contents inside for something incredibly special and unique for her—something which would be of greater worth and value than the alabaster jar itself and the contents which were inside. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s how Mary would enter into this house unannounced and unvented—and not only would she enter in uninvited but Scripture also seems to indicate that the house in which she entered would be the house of religion. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for these words call and draw our attention to the incredible truth surrounding this act of worship and how Mary viewed the Lord Jesus as not only being of greater worth and value than the alabaster jar and the contents inside but also worthy of this lavish and extravagant act of worship. What’s more is that within these texts we find the disciples being indignant with this woman for these actions for they viewed this act as a gigantic waste. The disciples were indignant within themselves because they viewed this act as something that could have been put to better use by selling the alabaster jar and ointment and giving the proceeds unto the poor. What makes this narrative so incredibly unique and powerful as you consider it is when you discover that Jesus actually rebuked the thinking of the disciples being aware of their indignation and murmuring against this woman. Scripture reveals how the Lord Jesus would rebuke His disciples for their thinking and would declare unto them how they had the poor among them always and they could do whatever they wanted unto them as often as they wanted. What they didn’t always have among them was the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more you read the words found in these passages of Scripture the more you will be absolutely captivated with and by the continued words the Lord Jesus would speak unto this woman for Jesus would emphatically declare that the actions of this woman were not even necessarily for her personally but they were also for Him. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus declaring that the actions of this woman were done in preparation for His burial. It would be the Lord Jesus who would declare unto this woman and to those who were present in this house that the actions she had engaged in were indeed preparation for the burial of the Lord Jesus. We know from Scriptures that not only did Nicodemus bring spices and ointment of a hundred pound in weight as he and Joseph of Arimathaea prepared the body of the Lord Jesus for burial but we also know that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Salome and Joses would seek to come to the grave having prepared spices with which they might anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. What makes this truly interesting when you take the time to think about it is that Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus would have prepared the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus with the spices and ointments which they would use to help prevent His body from seeing decay. These two men would perhaps anoint the body of the Lord Jesus with these ointments and spices that they might indeed take care of the physical body of the Lord Jesus that they might preserve it while it was lying within the borrowed tomb. Oh there is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for these men—one a counseller and one a Pharisee—would assume responsibility for the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and would place it in a borrowed tomb wrapped in these linen garments and cloths. I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that these two Mary’s would have desired to come unto the tomb where the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus lie that they might anoint it with the spices and ointments which they had prepared. Mary Magdalene had already anointed the body of the Lord Jesus while He was yet still alive as she would anoint Him with the fragrant ointment which was found within the alabaster jar she broke at His feet and in His presence. Now here we are after Jesus had suffered in the flesh, after Jesus had been crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb and Mary is returning to anoint the body of the Lord Jesus with the spices and ointment she had prepared together with the other Mary. Scripture is entirely unclear whether or not this act would have been just a one time occurrence or if Mary Magdalene and the other Mary would have routinely and regularly come unto the tomb that they might anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. These two women would indeed come unto the tomb very early in the morning on the third day seeking to anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and yet what makes this interesting when you think about it is how there was not only a stone that was rolled in front of the entrance of the tomb but there was also a seal upon it and a watch outside the tomb. The tomb of Jesus might very well have been one of the most secure tombs in all of Jewish history as I can’t think of another tomb where guards were place outside to keep watch in case others came to somehow steal the body of the Lord Jesus. How incredibly unique it is when you consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the tomb of the Lord Jesus and how Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses and Salome would seek to come unto the tomb bringing spices and ointment with them that they might anoint His lifeless body. I have to admit that the more I read the words which are found within these passages of Scripture are incredibly powerful when you take the time to consider them for they call and draw our attention to the beautiful truth surrounding the actions of these women. These women sought to come unto the tomb on the third day very early in the morning that they might anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. Perhaps these women thought that if they continued to show up at the tomb they would be able to gain access to the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and continue to anoint that body with the spices and ointments they had brought with them. What we find in each of the four gospels, however, is that when these women came unto the tomb on the third day they would not only find the stone rolled away but they would also find the body of the Lord Jesus was no longer present in the midst of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Salome and Joses would show up at the tomb and find an unexpected sight as they would see the stone rolled away, the linen garments which were wrapped about the body of Jesus lying in the tomb, the body of Jesus no longer being present in the midst of the grave and an angelic messenger of the living God sitting upon the stone which had been rolled from the entrance of the stone. What’s more is that the angelic messenger sent from heaven—perhaps not only to roll away the stone but also to be the herald of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus—would declare unto these women that they were searching for the living among the dead. Not only this but this angel would go on to declare unto these women that the one they were seeking was indeed no longer present in the midst of the tomb but had indeed been raised from death to life. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible reality of these women coming that they might anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and yet being entirely and altogether unable and incapable of doing so because Jesus had indeed been risen from the grave. In a previous writing I made mention of the fact that what we find here on the third day after the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from death to life is indeed a prophetic and powerful reality which was delivered—not only unto these women who sought to come unto the tomb but also to the countless men and women who would believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Scripture is entirely unclear whether or not these women would have come to the tomb to anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus this one time or whether or not they would continue coming unto the tomb and unto the place of the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus to anoint it. What’s more is that Scripture provides no clear understanding whether or not this act of anointing the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus would have become something that would have been carried out and continued by others who had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture is entirely unclear whether or not these women would have continued coming unto the grave that they might anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus Christ the longer He would remain in the grave. With this being said we must needs understand that what we find here is a beautiful and wonderful message that was being sent unto these women—and not only unto these women but also unto all those who would come thereafter. On this particular day these two women would be entirely and altogether prevented from anointing the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus and it’s as if the Holy Spirit was speaking unto and revealing to them that they would indeed be prohibited from anointing the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that Mary had the privilege of anointing the body of the Lord Jesus while He was yet still alive, thus serving as a powerful declaration that we have not been called to anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus but have in fact been called to anoint the body of the Lord Jesus while He is yet still alive. The words we find within the gospel narratives call and draw our attention to the fact that these women would have been entirely and altogether unable to anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus for the Spirit of the living God would raise Him up from the grave on the third day. The Holy Ghost would indeed raise up the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus on the third day and would restore Him unto the land of the living that He might go unto Galilee ahead of His brethren where He would show and demonstrate Himself as being alive over a forty day period of time. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that had the Holy Spirit not raised the Lord Jesus from the dead and had His lifeless body remained in the borrowed tomb it might have very well been possible that these women—together with countless others who came after them—would have showed up at the tomb anointing the body of the Lord Jesus. It is very much possible that these women might very well have started an incredibly beautiful act of anointing the body of the Lord Jesus—yet anointing it AFTEDr He had been crucified and buried in the tomb. Pause for a moment and consider what it could and would have possibly been like had the Holy Spirit not raised up the Lord Jesus from the dead and His lifeless body had remained in the borrowed tomb until this present day. Is it possible that these women would have started a tradition and routine of coming unto the tomb to anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus with ointment and spices? Eventually these women would have died themselves and who’s to say what would and could have happened after they died themselves and whether or not there would be others who would have come unto the tomb that they might anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. What we must needs recognize when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture is that not only did the Holy Ghost raise up the Lord Jesus from death to life on the third day but the Holy Spirit would also prohibit and prevent these women from anointing the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit would indeed prevent these women from coming unto the tomb and anointing the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus for there would only be one way and means of anointing the body of the Lord Jesus—while He was alive. Mary had anointed the body of the Lord Jesus while He was yet still alive and now the Holy Ghost had raised up Jesus from death to life on the third day. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and understand for not only is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the foundation of our faith and confidence but it has also afforded us the opportunity and ability to anoint His feet with our worship, with our adoration, with our praise and with our homage and reverence. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for to do so would be to miss out on the incredibly powerful truth surrounding the invitation we have been given to continue to anoint the Lord Jesus—yet not with ointment and spices but with the fragrance of our worship. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is how much greater it is to anoint the Lord Jesus—not with spices and ointments while His lifeless body still lie in the tomb but with our worship as He is indeed very much alive. We have not been called to anoint the lifeless body of the Lord Jesus with ointment, spices and fragrances but have been called and invited to anoint Him with our tears, with our worship, with our prayers, with our praise, with our adoration and with our humility. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are those who are willing to be extravagant and lavish with our worship of the Lord Jesus knowing and believing that He has indeed been raised from death to life. Are we as the saints of the living God and disciples of Jesus those who are truly willing to anoint Him with our tears, with our prayers, with our reverence, with our worship and with that which has cost us everything. Oh that we would indeed be a people who would give ourselves entirely and altogether to worship of the one who not only died and was crucified but who was also raised from death to life on the third day.

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