You and Joseph of Arimathea arrive together at Golgotha.
The daytime crowds have dispersed.
The two criminals are sagging, dying; their legs just broken.
The Cross of Jesus has been uprooted from its post-hole; it is lying, with Him atop it--dead—in the dust and the dirt.
You and Joseph approach the body with awe; with hesitance.
You are quietly regarding that face; His closed eyes.
Together you kneel beside Him.
Together you begin to remove the nails.
You begin to anoint Jesus.
You will wrap Him when you’re done…
Within an hour, you have finished the work, taken the body down the hill, away from the city, to the tomb prepared beforehand by Joseph. The ending takes only moments. You carry the body inside, stooping your heads low as you enter into the darkness of the interior, and lay the body on the bench at the back. You bow your heads, silent, and then retreat outside. A large crew of men is required to roll the stone across the tomb’s mouth. The evening air is still and silent.
As you and Joseph walk away, you are likewise silent; you are each thinking your own thoughts about this tragic ending of something that you thought was everything. You can only imagine what Joseph is thinking. . .
You are thinking of something you’ve been thinking about all day. . .
Of that night with the Teacher, nearly exactly three years ago, sitting on a rooftop terrace, as He looked off over the moonlit city. And of His words to you on that night:
“The Son of Man must be lifted above the heads of men—as Moses lifted up that serpent in the desert—so that any man who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life. You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him. Any man who believes in him is not judged at all.”
That is what Nicodemus is thinking of, as he walks away…