Saturday, March 26, 2016

What Do You Do With a Second-Hand Grave?

Jesus had a habit of using things for purposes other than what we intended them for.
When He arrived in Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday, everyone was getting ready for Passover.  He had sent a few of the disciples ahead of Him to secure the place where they would share the Passover meal.
Then when they finally get to the night where they sat together to celebrate the Passover as each of them has for their entire life up to this point Jesus does something different…..

“This is My blood, drink in remembrance of me….”

Their ears certainly pricked up at this I’m sure.  They definitely hadn’t heard that one before.

“Ummm, excuse me Jesus?  I’m pretty sure that’s not how my dad taught me to do that….”

“This is My body, take and eat in remembrance of me….”

He used the Passover as something different than what they had made of it then, but when the disciples all looked back on it later they realized that in reality it had been all about Him from the beginning anyway. 

And then, on the Third Day, He rose from the dead.

That really kind of threw a wrench in things.  

Even though He’d been telling everyone who would listen that He would, they still didn’t actually expect it to happen.  That’s not what graves are for.

And that begs the question:  Just exactly what do you do with a used grave?

A grave isn’t a grave until it has a dead body in it.  Once it has a body in it it’s not like you’re going to use it for something else.  It’s not a multi-purpose kind of thing, you know?
But a grave isn’t supposed to empty itself either is it?
What should have held Him securely for the rest of time simply didn’t.  He used for something else. 
What should have been the end, was instead used as a beginning.
 
He used it as the launching point for the means of our survival.

If I was the owner of that tomb, and stood in front of it a few days after sealing a dead body inside, knowing that the person I had buried actually did what He said He would do and rose again, I would wonder what to do with it. 
I could be practical, and keep trying to use it for what it was originally intended for.  I would know for a fact that there would be another dead body to put in there sooner or later.  I’ve seen death often enough in my own life to know the truth of this.

I tried putting myself in the shoes of Joseph of Arimathea, staring at that stone that should have been there, but was instead over there.  

Seeing the grave clothes folded there instead of being wrapped around the body where he had put them.

It’s difficult to fathom what could possibly be going through his head at that moment, but I think I know what I’d do.

I think I’d move in.

To be where He had been, but wasn’t.

To live where death was defeated.
Not present.

Had no authority.

Where the scent of mortal decay never lingered.

That would be a home like no other.

Then I realize that I’d just be falling into the trap that man has found himself in since the beginning.
We always want God to provide proof of Himself in what we can touch, see, taste, and hear.  Jesus showed up and gave us all that, and there were plenty then who still didn’t get it.

But here’s the thing:  I don’t have to own the empty grave, or live in it, to know the truth of what He’s done for me.  
All I need to know is that there really is a second hand grave out there, and it failed in its purpose the first time. 

It won’t ever get a second chance, but I always will.

Happy Easter.

© Dan Bode 2016

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