Read Matthew 27:57-66 (Click to read passage) His body bound and drenched in tears, They laid him down in Joseph’s tomb. The entrance sealed by heavy stone, Messiah still, and all alone. Verse 3 from the song, “O Praise the Name (Anastasis)” by Hillsong Worship A few years ago, my wife told me an experience she had while visiting a Bible theme park. In the middle of the day, the theme park had a reenactment of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion. She was with a crowd of people watching the reenactment and among the group was a little girl. The little girl was visibly moved and cried as she saw Jesus being beaten and put on the cross. But as the crucifixion scene ended, and darkness fell, there was a sense of hope. The little girl looked at my wife and with confidence whispered, “He’s coming back”. Before we go to the resurrection, let us consider the days after Jesus died on the cross. The Gospels tell us that after Jesus died, a man named Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body. Luke tells us that Joseph was a disciple of Jesus but he was also a member of the Jewish council. He did not agree with the council’s decision to crucify Jesus and out of a desire to honor Jesus, Joseph courageously asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted Joseph’s request Joseph buried Jesus in a garden near the site of the crucifixion. The tomb that Jesus was buried was in a garden near the site of the cross. Jesus who lived a life of poverty was buried in Joseph’s own tomb. And although the tomb was likely meant for Joseph, but out of honor and respect, Joseph desired to bury Jesus in his own tomb. The tomb’s description was consistent with many first century examples of tombs. It was probably a cave dug out of limestone with a heavy round stone laid in front of it with a track in the ground that the stone could be pushed along. What some may find surprising is that this act fulfilled a prophecy in Isaiah 53:9: “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” But the disciples would not understand this until later. In the meantime, Jesus was still in the grave. And depending on who you were, you felt different things. For Jesus’ enemies, it seemed as if their problems were over. The imposter was dead and we can go on and get back to life as it should be. But there was still concerns. Matthew tells us that the Chief Priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate to ask for a guard of soldiers to make the tomb secure. They did not believe that Jesus would rise from the dead, but they were afraid that the disciples would come and steal the body. Pilate agreed and gave them a contingent of solders and made the tomb secure. But the guards were guarding people on the outside from coming in. They weren’t expecting anyone to come out. For Jesus’ followers, it seemed as if all the hopes that Christ was the promised Messiah, were ended. Their leader, teacher, friend, master, Lord was dead. They had hoped that he would be the one who would bring in the kingdom of God. But now they would perhaps have to wait longer, or give up on this hope. But the little girl in the theme park understood something that the disciples could not have known. Jesus will rise from the dead and he will conquer sin and death. Back at the theme park, the story of Jesus’ resurrection continued. He was alive again! Death could not keep him in the grave. When the show ended, the little girl smiled and told my wife, “See! I told you he’d come back!” Sometimes children have much to teach us older folks. Does your heart still fill with wonder when you hear that Jesus rose from the dead? Does it still catch your heart for a moment to know that the God of the universe loves you? When we hear that Jesus rose again from the dead do our hearts fill us with joy at the great work to reconcile us back to him? Let us pray that God would remind us and bring us to a place of wonder at God’s mercy once again. Questions for Meditation: Has the story of Jesus been heard so many times that you take it for granted? Does the fact that Jesus died on the cross for your sin and rose again still fill you with joy and wonder? How does Jesus’ victory help shape your understanding of this current pandemic? What is the condition of your heart as Easter approaches? Have your desires for other things made the Gospel story boring to you? Spend some time to repent and ask God to help you fight for the joy in Christ.