MAY 19, 2013 -
"RISKING ALL FOR CHRIST"
Today we observe the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women. These brave souls have long been viewed as unsung heroines in the story of our Lord's Resurrection. They are rightfully portrayed as women with total loyalty to the Lord - loyalty so deep that they were willing to risk their lives by going to His Tomb and completing the burial ritual prescribed by their faith. They expressed no concern for the Roman soldiers guarding the Tomb. Their only worry was "who will roll away the stone for us?" Their fears were unfounded: when they got to the Tomb, the soldiers were gone and the stone was rolled away. The Tomb was empty! Christ had risen!
Today, we also remember Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Their involvement in the Resurrection narrative is even more amazing, for they had much more to lose because of their actions. The Gospels describe them as wealthy, respected Pharisees - members of the Sanhedrin - who were secret followers of Jesus. It took great courage for these men to ask for the Body of Jesus. Not only were they putting themselves at risk from the Romans, but from their own people as well. Surely everyone knew who claimed Christ's Body. Everyone knew that Nicodemus provided the necessary anointments and spices for preparing our Lord for burial. Still, this was something they felt compelled to do. In their minds, that far outweighed any risks and retribution.
What an example Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and the Myrrh-bearers are for us! Christ often taught that following Him meant sacrifice, abuse, and alienation. It might even mean persecution and death. He reminded us that we had to take a stand - we couldn't be lukewarm in our support for Him. If only our loyalties to our Lord could be as strong as the men and women we are commemorating today!