Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekend Worship - The Stink of Death

Travel back in time with me as we watch Joseph and Nicodemus take the body of Jesus from the cross that fateful Friday and prepare it for burial. It must have taken valuable time to convince Pilate to let them have Him, but they managed. Nicodemus carried seventy five pounds of myrrh and spices to prepare the body. It was an offering worthy of a king—a dead king.

Imagine the tears they shed as they silently and gently lowered his broken body to the ground. See the abuse He suffered at the hands of his accusers. The beatings rendered Him almost unrecognizable as the blood and filth poured from His body. Still they loved Him so much.

Time was running out before the Sabbath began. They didn’t have time to prepare His body like they wanted, like He deserved. But at least there was an unused tomb in the garden close by. They took Him there and lovingly prepared His body. They tried to cover the stench of death with herbs and linen, but can you imagine the odor inside that dark, cramped tomb. The sickly sweet smell of myrrh combining with the overwhelming smell of blood and torture. As they worked, the smell must have seeped into their noses, hair and clothing, and when they left they took with them the odor of despair as they gathered with the others to celebrate an empty Sabbath.

Move ahead to Sunday morning, that very first Easter. Mary Magdalene has returned with the news that someone has stolen Jesus’ body. As the disciples race to the tomb a part of them must dread what they’ll find. But as John enters that resting place of the dead something besides Jesus’ body is missing.

In a place once redolent with the stink of death, there lies only the empty grave clothes and spices. Imagine the odor now—this place of death now carries the aroma of life.

Jesus led the way—He replaced the odor of death with the aroma of life. Now it’s up to us to let Him lead others down the same path through us. The question is, does our life carry the stink of death or the fragrance of life everlasting?

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. II Corinthians 3:15

2 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful, Edie. Thank you for sharing it.

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  2. Thank you, dear Edie, for such a beautiful but realistic picture of the contrast between despair and life. Yes, despair does have an odor ~ we've all sensed it. I experience it as I pass some of the darkened rooms of the nursing home as I daily visit my mother. Then that sweet aroma of life rushes at me as I enter her sun-filled room and see her smile. This Easter is a wonderful reminder of the life we have been given through Jesus' victory on the cross. Thank you!

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