It’s not a religion. It’s a relationship.
It was a relationship that caused Joseph of Arimathea to have the boldness to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus.
It was a relationship that caused Nicodemus to help Joseph prepare Jesus’ body for burial.
It was a relationship that caused Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus to follow after Joseph and Nicodemus. They observed where they laid Jesus.
“Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.”
Mark 15:46-47 NKJV
“Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.”
Luke 23:50-56 NKJV
“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”
John 19:38-42 NKJV
But for these faithful followers, Jesus’ body should have been left on the cross so that birds and dogs could devour it. Remember by Pilate’s actions he had declared Jesus an enemy of Rome. The sole purpose of curcifixion was to humiliate and torture those who had committed crimes against Roman rule. The criminals body was considered a property of Rome.
What would cause Joseph to have such courage to boldly go before a Roman prefect and go against the law of the land? It was love and respect for his Messiah.
What would cause Nicodemus, a respected teacher in Israel, help Joseph prepare Jesus’ body for burial? The Sabbath drew near.
“‘He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him.”
Numbers 19:11-13 NKJV
By the Law that Nicodemus so revered, he should have never touched the dead body of Jesus. What would cause him to act so recklessly with the Sabbath so near? It was love and respect for his Messiah.
She was His mother. She had the mother and Son relationship. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for Mary to watch her oldest child suffer such torture. She would honor Him now in His death.
And what about His Heavenly Father? He would not allow His Son to see decay.
They were all part of the narrative that God wrote. His Son would be honored because Sunday was coming.
Each one had developed a deep relationship with the One they called Yeshua.
I ask myself, “What about me? Where would I have been in this story line? Would I have had the courage to ask for the body of Jesus? Would I have been bold enough to break all laws of religion and touch a dead body? Would I have followed at all costs no matter the soldiers lurking about to arrest all followers of Jesus?”
I present to you a scale to determine your relationship with Jesus. At this point in our timeline all they knew was their beloved Messiah had just died a brutal death and their only desire was to honor Him in burial.
We have the advantage. We know the rest of the story. Jesus is not dead. Sunday came and the tomb was empty. This facet alone should deepen our love, respect, and honor for our Savior.
Take the test. Where are you on the scale? How deep is your relationship with Jesus?