Lenten Reflection - John 19:38-42 by Kat Duck
“38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 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. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 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. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:38-42
In the many times I’ve read this passage, I’ve never noticed how much the mixture of myrrh and aloes weighed. A hundred pounds seems like a lot but having little knowledge of how bodies were prepared for burial in that day, I have no idea if it was or not. It also brought home in a powerful way that Jesus was fully human and that his body would need the same burial preparation as any other body would.
I tend to think of Jesus’ death and resurrection as “deathandresurrection” a one-word description that really equates to “resurrection” because I know the end of the story. But, Jesus died. His body stopped functioning; he breathed his last breath; he hung on the cross unmoving; he died like every other human will die. And even though most of us won’t die such a violent and painful death, at some point we will breathe our last breath on Earth.
Death, in our culture, is almost a taboo subject. We use euphemisms such as “pass away,” as if a person wafts through the door of life into the great beyond. Death is final; death is scary; death means no more chances to get life right. That Jesus was fully human and that he died is something to ponder today. How will you face your own and loved ones’ deaths? How will knowing the “end of Jesus’ story” help you live more fully into your own story?