URC Daily Devotion 30 March 2024

30 March 2024
Holy Saturday

St Mark 15: 42 – 47

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time.  When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.  Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.  Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.


They watched. They waited.

Today is a strange day. A day of nothing. A day of waiting and watching. Of remembering and … not hoping. Not yet. Some return to their daily work, glad of the routine to dull their screaming thoughts. Others sit in shocked silence, minds reeling, bodies numb. One man hurries to the local tyrant.

Joseph of Arimathea is a slightly mysterious figure. He appears as if out of the crowd on Good Friday, buries the body of Jesus and disappears back into the masses.

Luke says he was a good and upright man who had not consented to the council’s decision. Matthew tells us that the tomb was Joseph’s own and that he had become a disciple of Jesus. John adds that this was secretly because he feared for his reputation.

John also mentions Joseph’s friend, Nicodemus, the man who had visited Jesus at night. Together they lavished mountains of spices to anoint Jesus’ body – many thousands of pounds’ worth in today’s money. Then they placed him in the tomb, rolled the stone across and left. And that’s it. We hear no more of Joseph of Arimathea in the Bible.

Did he join the huddle of frightened followers behind locked doors? Would he be present to hear Mary’s unbelievable news? Did he go on to become part of the church in Jerusalem? We do not know.

Before this day, he had been frightened to confess his faith, but he stood up when he needed to. He did what needed doing. Joseph is one of the silent faithful, the vast cloud of witnesses who quietly get on with serving. Today, we see him reverently doing what he is able to honour his Lord. Perhaps it seems too little and too late. But he does what he can.

He watches. He waits. He remembers. And tomorrow, he will hope.


Dear Lord,
as we wait and we watch today,
as we remember and dare to hope,
teach us to serve those around us
and so doing, to serve you.




Today’s writer

Fay Rowland, minister-in-training, Christ the King, Kettering



New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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