Meditations on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ
by Andrew Peterson
VII. THE HUNGRY TOMB
I want to turn away from this part of the story.
I want to close my eyes on it, partly because my love for you makes it difficult to bear, and
partly because I am ashamed of myself. I’m afraid that I’ll see my own face in the mob,
among the teachers of the law, in Pilate, in the men who beat you. You are despised and
rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men
hide their faces.
But I watch. I watch as you are whipped, mocked, nailed to the cross, and lifted up.
I force myself to watch.
“It is finished,” you say, and then the life and light of men dies.
The mob clears beneath a black, churning sky, as black as the sorrow or terror they feel in
their chests. The Sabbath is coming, and Joseph of Arimathea of all people knows that
no man's body is to hang overnight, especially during Passover. Pilate gives his
permission and Joseph comes trembling to the foot of the cross. There stands the Jewish
leader, his robe whipping in the angry wind, his back bent before your wrecked body,
crooked on the crossbeams. Joseph lays the linen-shrouded flesh and bones of the son of
God in his own tomb just as evening descends and brings with it God's holy day of rest.
We all have tombs that await us, open-mouthed and hungry for our bones, but the author
of life lies there in our stead. You died so that we who come sorry and helpless to the foot
of your cross may rest on the Sabbath knowing that it is not ourselves in our graves, but
That atonement was made would have been enough. But in the riches of your grace and
great power, we rest on the Sabbath knowing that the tomb is not the final word. Great
God, we are overcome with joy and thanksgiving and all manner of gladness that
the tomb is not the end of the story.
Just wait, you say. You will see my wonders.