50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, 51 had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.
He asked for the kingdom of God.
He received instead a lifeless, bloodied, soiled body;
but a body, nonetheless, so, good man that he was,
he took that body and wrapped it in fresh linen;
sprinkled spices of disappointment across the
shroud, then laid the bitter remains of his dreams on a
shelf in the dank darkness of his new rock tomb.
He had been tempted, yes he had, tempted to
simply walk away and leave that corpse on the cross
for others to dispose of, but, surely, he reasoned,
surely this man, disappointing as he turned out to be,
surely he deserved—simply as a human being—a final,
quiet dignity. One more caress for the shrouded
remnants of his dream; one more sigh, and then he left to
close the tomb and seal away forever all his kingdom hopes.
But then…that curious rumor in the air that sent him back to
tidy up his now strange-emptied tomb; and there the lingering
scent of myrrh and aloes, mixed with something
new and strange, ethereal, it seemed, almost like
angel breath; and, too, that mystifying luster
glimmering ever just beyond his sight; those
linen wrappings, stained and stretched across the shelf…
Could it possibly be? Could his cave have been the
womb in which the costly kingdom pearl had been
laid to rest and then had birthed new life beyond this life?
And were his muted actions somehow part of all of that—
his futile disagreement with the Council? his binding of that
mangled body in his linen winding sheet? He hoped, but
sureness hovered just beyond mind’s reach; so quietly he
folded all his questions into the empty creases of the
shroud, and quietly he left his silent tomb.
Yet heart emboldened by that hushed and holy emptiness,
mysterious Presence filling gaps and pauses nestled in the
restless aching of his soul, he asked for rising faith to