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One of the influential members of the Council, Joseph of Arimathea, asked for Jesus’ body, who died on the cross. In verse 43 describes that Joseph was himself waiting for the kingdom of God. In verse 46, “So 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.”
It is really encouraging that even though they were not always noticeable, there were some who were willing to support Jesus among the members of the Council. So is the church. God also provides help when we face a reality that seems difficult to overcome. In the same way, even though we are facing a great challenge of COVID-19, I am grateful that we can still have worship services and church activities with the help of many believers. I believe it’s happening not only in our church but also everywhere in Japanese churches and all over the world. I am so grateful for those people who are praying for what they can do for Jesus and the church, even though the time we can attend the worship service is limited. I want to encourage you to pray in the same way. I believe that God will work in your heart like the way He spoke to Joseph, and through you, He wants to bless the other believers.
From Chapter 16, Mary Magdalene and many other women will appear. Verse 1-2 describes “When the Sabbath was over, they bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, they were on their way to the tomb.” They probably wanted to anoint Jesus’ body to give better burial. But what they witnessed was a large stone at the entrance of the grave had already been rolled, and a young man in a long white robe sitting on the right side of the grave. Although Mark describes him as a young man, Matthew 28:2 describes him as an angel of the Lord. The Gospel of Matthew explains about this event with more detail than the Gospel of Mark. So please read Matthew 28. 「There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.」
In Matthew 28:5-10, 「The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples (about this.)”
In Verse 8, “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” The expression “Afraid yet filled with joy” explains their emotions very well. The fact of Jesus being raised from the dead is horrifying yet delightful event for us, human beings.
Today’s title, “He has risen!” In Greek, however, “risen” is expressed in the passive form. In this way, the resurrection of Christ is made clear to be a work of God. Jesus himself said many times that he was going to be crucified and be resurrected. I would like you to realize that this cross and resurrection are the work of God, and this is the foundation of Christian faith.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says,「For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,」Just as the resurrection of Christ is the work of God, we, believers will someday experience the work of God, the resurrection. Let us give thanks to God together that this hope is given to us.