Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)
TITLE: "Here Lies Joseph"
By Gloria Graves
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“Nicodemus, what we must do, we must do together.”
“Joseph, I fear…they must not see me, they will know me. I will wait in the court yard. You go! Talk to Pilot.”
“I am Joseph; I come from Arimathea. Can I have him? I mean his body, the one they called Jesus.”
“He’s dead already? That didn’t take long.”
“He was a Jew…the law says…our law won’t allow him to…”
“Where will you put him?”
“I have a tomb near the garden. I…we, will take him from the cross. I will lay him my tomb.”
“When you die, will you share your burial place with that man?”
“No! I am not worthy to be laid with him.”
“Worthy? You are obviously a rich man. He had nothing. Just his words and the lies he told.”
“His words weren’t lies. He spoke the truth, the word of God.”
“Are you one of them, his disciple?”
“We killed an innocent man. Please, I must hurry, the time is late.”
“Innocent? I too thought he was innocent, I found no fault in him, but the priests…go! Take him so we don’t have to hear of him again.”
Joseph bought the finest linen that he could find. Nicodemus carried one hundred pounds of Myrrh and Aloe as they hurried to the cross. With the greatest of love and care he, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lifted the cross from the hole it had been dropped in. They lay the cross heavy with man on the ground. The arduous task of removing his right hand held firmly by a spike was upon them. It pained their heart to pull the palm and release it. Dried blood and flesh stayed behind.
Nicodemus and Joseph carefully bound the limp arm with strips of linen and spices and placed his right arm across his chest.
Nicodemus turned to Joseph and spoke, “Jesus turned to the sinner at his right hand and said, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’” Luke 23:43
“Do you believe he is there, in Paradise?”
“Surely, a good man such as he wouldn’t go to Hades. He lived his life from the beginning and end in obedience to God.”
The two men shivered as they removed the left hand. Bones were crushed and splintered. Even more flesh and more dried blood swathed the nail.
“The criminal on his left mocked him, ‘Save yourself and us.’” Luke 23:39
“Joseph, why didn’t he?”
“Why didn’t he what?”
“I don’t know…all those miracles…God surely had given him power, but…power over death…I don’t…even he….don’t you think he would have saved himself if it were possible?”
“Joseph, the Romans are cruel but this is the first time they have crowned the condemned. It’s embedded in his flesh. His hair is matted with blood. What shall we do with his crown?”
“Throw it! That’s not a crown for a king.”
Tossing the crown over his shoulder, Nicodemus saw it bounce and roll, landing at the feet of Jesus.
One last nail! The feet! Joseph and Nicodemus looked down on the dead mans body, Nicodemus sighed, “So much blood.”
The disciples said they saw him walk on water on the Sea of Galilee. Now look…”
“Joseph, when they plunged that spear in his side, it washed his side clean. I saw it; both water and blood came out.”
“What about this, the inscription? ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’”
Joseph took it from the hand of Nicodemus, “I’m keeping it.”
With great care, they wrapped him as a baby is wrapped in strips of cloth and laid him, not in a manager, but in a borrowed tomb, his final resting place.
The two men rolled the stone in place; Joseph nodded, “He will be safe now. ‘It is finished!’” A tear rolled down his cheek as he turned his back on his Lord’s tomb and walked away.
Nicodemus mourned, “I need to go home and wash; his blood is on my hands. Will I ever be clean again?”
“Have you heard? Joseph of Arimathea is dead.”
“Where will he be buried?”
“His tomb is empty—put him there!”
“He is not here for he is risen.” Matthew 28:6
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