While there are differences in the various Passion narratives, common to all four Gospels is the concern of Jesus’ friends and followers that he be given a decent burial. Most of them had abandoned him or at best were standing off at a distance during his anguish and suffering. After his death, however, they were committed to providing a proper burial for this good and courageous man.
Although his mission in life appeared to be a colossal failure, his integrity and courage were without question. Seeing to it that his body was washed, anointed, shrouded, and secured seemed to be the least they could do. Coming to the tomb after the great Sabbath rest, they had this purpose in mind. They were astounded to find the stone rolled away and burial clothes rolled up. In the words of John’s Gospel, “They did not yet understand … that he had to rise from the dead.”
Easter faith involves readiness to encounter Jesus as a living personal presence. It is not primarily about respecting his heroic witness, or even about contemplating and applying his remarkable teaching. Believers learn to experience his presence among them in every age as they discern their purpose and mission in life. We, as worshippers, say “Amen” to the reality of that presence when we gather for the Eucharist on Easter Sunday and every Sunday — remembering and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.
— Corbin Eddy
Acts 10:34A, 37–43
Psalm 118:1:2, 16–17, 22–23
Colossians 3:1–4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6B–8
John 20:1–9, or Mark 16:1–7, or Luke 24:13–35