John Day 20: Improving Grounds

Standard

Text:  John 19: 38-42

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.  With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.  This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Stop and Consider

  1. How fitting that a garden was nearby the scene of such tragedy and loss.  Besides the resurrection of Christ, what else have you seen grow up among the weeds of grief and despair?  Hope, joy, forgiveness, humility, strength, compassion, love, renewal, graciousness, integrity, empathy, sympathy, commitment, perseverance, intestinal fortitude, patience, peace, kindness, gentleness, self-control.
  2. What kind of cooperation is required from us if we are ever to experience tender shoots coming forth from the barren ground? We must be open to being broken up and dug into, just as soil must be tilled and broken in order to become fertile and bring forth life.  We have to trust what God is working in our lives for our good, and not evil.  The process may be painful, but if we persevere during our tests and trials, we will come forth as gold (Job 23:10).

Several people in my life, including me, have recently experienced – or are in the process of experiencing – significant personal trials.  Lives have been shaken and rattled, but God will NOT let us fall.  We are His (Isaiah 43:1).  He will contend with those who contend with us (Ps. 35:1).  No matter what happens to us in this life, WE WIN IN THE END.  WE ARE HIS.

Praying God’s Word Today

Lord Jesus, You died and came to life for this:  that You might rule over both the dead and the living (Rom. 14:9).  And because we know that what we sow does not come to life unless it dies (1 Cor. 15:37), I give You every part of me today, knowing that even if death occurs, You have newness awaiting me.  

You have promised us that those who die in You will rise at Your return (1 Thes. 4:16).  We can do this because You crossed over from death to life first so that we may do the same (John 5:24).  You are the First and the Last.  You are the Living One; You were dead, but now You are alive forever and ever!  You hold the keys of death and Hades.  We do not need to fear (Rev. 1:17-18).  My dad stepped into Your glory on this day four years ago.  I cannot even begin to comprehend the wonders he has seen since that day.  I praise You that I know EXACTLY  where he is and look forward to the day when I see him again and we can praise You together. 

 

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