Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
— Mark 15:46
This story tells us that three women—Mary Magdalene, another Mary, and Salome—and also “many other women” had been watching the crucifixion from a distance. It seems that two of them also followed to see his burial.
And we might wonder, “What was it like for them to witness all this? What were they thinking and feeling?” These people and many others had been with Jesus and had followed him through Galilee as he taught and preached. And now they had seen his suffering, his death, and his burial in a tomb. We have been told what the centurion said (Mark 15:39), and we are told of the bold and kind action of Joseph of Arimathea, but what about the people who watched from a distance?
Maybe that’s the point. For all who witness the story of Jesus from a distance—like us today—what do we think about him? From a distance of 2,000 years we have followed Jesus through Galilee, heard his teachings, and seen his healings—and now we have observed his death and burial.
How has all this affected you? What is your reaction?
Our response to Jesus is a big part of the story.
Jesus, pull us into this story to respond to you as the centurion did and to honor you as Joseph did. And since we are like the many people who watched from a distance, draw us close enough to see you as the Son of God. Amen.