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Hope in the Heartland

(Editor’s note: This is the tenth in a series leading to Easter.)

Pastor, Peabody Bible Church

Later, after death had silenced the other men, the soldier saw his centurion escorting a man toward him.

“This is Joseph … of Sanhedrin. Pilate granted him permission to bury the body of Jesus.”

The centurion gestured to three other soldiers, who stepped over, lifted the cross out of its hole and laid it on the ground. Then they yanked the nails loose that held Jesus in place.

Joseph and another man knelt down beside the body of Jesus.

“Thank you, Nicodemus,” Joseph said.

Promptly they washed the bloodied corpse, gently straightening his legs and lowering his arms to his sides. They delicately lifted Jesus’ head, removed the crown of thorns, and washed his battered face.

Nicodemus spread a clean sheet out on the ground. Then he and Joseph, assisted by others, carried the lifeless Jesus over to the sheet. While Joseph folded the sheet over the body, Nicodemus took strips of linen cloth out of a bag and wrapped them around the sheet. As he pulled the cloths out of the bag, the soldier saw that they were coated with a paste-like substance and strong smell of myrrh and aloe filled the air.

“My new tomb is close by, let us carry the Lord there quickly,” said Joseph. The soldier watched as Joseph, Nicodemus, and two other men, picked up the wrapped body of Jesus and carried it toward the white limestone hillside in the distance. The soldier resisted a strange inner urge to lay down his spear and help them.

To be continued …

Last modified March 25, 2010

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