Tuesday, April 19, 2011

John 19:17-42


Jesus, King of the Jews, is crucified, dead and buried.

In today’s scripture, we see people being faithful and doing what they believe to be right, even though it might be dangerous.

Pilate, angry that the Jewish leaders have put him in an impossible situation, has a sign placed on the cross that Jesus is crucified on stating, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”. To increase the audacity factor in this, Pilate has it written in the three main languages that the people in that time and place speak. Pilate wants the Jews to be fearful that they have made him an accessory in murdering this man who has stated that he is the Son of God.

Jesus’ mother, and the two other Mary’s, as well as John stand if full view of the public and stay with Jesus while he dies rather than hiding during what they probably believe to be the end of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus puts his mother into the care of John to ensure her well-being until her death.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both men who have up to now kept their faith in Jesus secret, take responsibility for Jesus’ body and burial: Actions that while not as public as shouting their belief in Jesus from the Temple steps, are still dangerous as well as financially costly. These two men give Jesus an expensive burial – buying a tomb that has never been used and anointing Jesus’ body with 75 pounds of expensive perfumes and ointments.

It has taken Jesus’ death on a cross for people to begin to express their belief more publicly. When Jesus was leading them in life, it was easy to let Jesus be the one who stood out. Now that Jesus has been crucified, they are beginning to realize that if they truly believe that he is who he claimed, they must begin to step out in faith and take risks for this man/God who took such great risks for them.

Heavenly Father, help us to know you even though we have not seen you with our physical senses. Help us to understand what is at risk in both denying and publically claiming you. Give us the ability o do what you are calling us to do in every situation we face. Amen.