In poorer communities, burial arrangements are sometimes just as last minute as the funeral. When someone passes away, the person may not have any arrangements made at all—no money for a casket, no plot of land to be buried in, and no life insurance to put things into place. They have to scramble for money or fundraise in attempts to make anything happen, all while grieving and trying to keep it together for meetings with businesses that are bound to add debt to their pain.
There was a man in the Bible named Joseph who didn’t have this problem. He had acquired quite a bit of wealth and apparently had enough prominence to arrange a last minute meeting with the governor himself. He was already ahead of the game and had bought a newly created tomb for his own burial someday. And since tombs were able to serve as a burial place for more than one body, it was likely a tomb for his entire family—though that wouldn’t be the case anymore since Jesus died a criminal’s death and the tomb would have now been thought of as unclean. Had Joseph not done this for Jesus, who knows where Jesus’ body may have been disposed. A society capable of crucifixion clearly isn’t going to care too much about a crucified corpse. He very well could have just been pulled off the cross and tossed into the local dump.
Ironically, Jesus was treated better in his death than in his final days of life. Even more ironically, he was treated best by (1) all of his female disciples who followed him all the way to his death and beyond, (2) some random rich man who seemed unblinded by his riches, and (3) a Pharisee (of all people!) named Nicodemus who brought some spices to embalm Jesus’ body with. Meanwhile, most of his main disciples hid behind locked doors.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 27:45-54 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Check it out for greater detail. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.