“It was the day of Preparation and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid.” (Luke 23.54-55).
Like Simeon, who gathered the infant Jesus into his arms in the Temple, and who was ‘looking forward to the consolation of Israel’, Joseph of Arimathea is described by Luke as also having his eye on the big picture; ‘waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God (51). There is no short-cut for grief and sorrow and the tender ministrations that go with it and Joseph and the women are clearly, careful about these things. But notice, how Luke declares this ‘the day of Preparation’ (54). Yes, he has the Jewish observances in mind but we (who have heard the story before) might sense him also hinting that something is afoot. Indeed, it is surely no accident that we’re told ‘the Sabbath’ (God’s time) was beginning; and that the women returned and ‘prepared’ spices and ointments’ (56). In short, this whole passage invites us to ‘make ready’. We might sense that the rock-hewn tomb (indeed every grave) has a notice reading, “to be continued….”
Our Prayer for Lent is: “Lord Jesus, draw me into your friendship”.