Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 62; 145, 1 Samuel 15:1-3, 7-23, Acts 9:19b-31, Luke 23:44-56a
When a Supreme Court decision is split, the justices in the minority may offer a dissenting opinion. While this opinion is not legally binding, it is more than protest or rebuke. It may be used persuasively in future arguments to limit or overturn the majority opinion.
Joseph of Arimathea offered his own form of dissenting opinion. A member of the council that accused and condemned Jesus, he “had not agreed to their plan and action.” Rather, he asked Pilate for Christ’s body for proper burial. This was a bold request, as victims of crucifixion – especially those accused of sedition as Jesus was – were usually left on the cross for several days as a warning to others.
After Joseph laid Jesus in the tomb, the women who’d been following Jesus since Galilee prepared the spices and ointments for his body, then finished their Sabbath preparations.
Imagine the feelings of loss. Of hopelessness. Yet in doing what needed to be done, they defied despair. Burying Jesus was at once unremarkable – Jewish people died and were buried every day – and extraordinary because their messiah was brutally taken from them.
Did they have any inkling how bold they were to carry on? In the face of death and oppression, their ordinary acts declared, “We still have faith. We are still God’s people. We still obey God’s ordinances. This was not what we hoped for, but you have not destroyed us.” They may have felt confused and crushed but they persisted. They remained present. Like dissenting justices, from defeat they wrung an investment in the future.
None of them fully understood that God was at work, unseen and unheard, turning death upside down and inside out. Also like justices, they had no idea when or if their commitment would pay off.
What defeats are you suffering? What tempts you to despair? Remember the Spirit moves in ways not yet known to you. Persevering in small acts of faith will sustain you until they are known. Today you may not be able to see past the tomb of defeat, but unimaginable resurrection is around the corner.
For thoughts on today’s passage from Acts, see If Paul could do it….
Comfort: God is not idle.
Challenge: Meditate on how your habits change when you are distressed. Do these changes help or hinder you?
Prayer: For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation (Psalm 62:1)
Discussion: In hindsight are you able to see times God was delivering you without your being aware of it??
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