This post is a few days late as the last few days (including today) of readings in Matthew were telling of the crucifixion of Jesus. Yesterday told of Jesus’ death, today the burial of Jesus. There is no easy way to take the story of the Crucifixion as an “easy” story. It is supposed to make the reader uncomfortable and recognize the depth of what Jesus suffered on behalf of those who put him on the cross in the first place (all of us). One of my most significant moments each year over the last few has been in the Good Friday service hosted by our friends at the nearby Episcopal church. Part of the service is in silence as people come forward and nail a note with a sin, a area to turn over to Christ, etc to a rough cross in the front of the sanctuary. It is striking (no pun intended) to see the row of people going forward and then hearing the sound of the nail being struck into the cross. As I read the passage from Matthew today, I was struck by the line in verse 64 noting that a guard would be necessary at the tomb to be sure that the body wasn’t taken and the disciples would “tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” I am thankful that the story is not a deception but instead a challenge as we think of the suffering of Christ but with hope in the context of resurrection that is around the corner. However, you can’t get to the resurrection without the nails.
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