S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”
By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.
When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin.
As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law. Luke 23:44–56 NLT
Jesus pleaded in prayer to the Father not to have to endure the agony of shouldering the guilt of the world. Yet in his pleading, he trusted the will of the Father even to the last second of his agony when he shouted his final cry of trust and escaped the physical world in death. If it was hard for Jesus to trust, and yet he did until the very end, that is my goal as well: with the power and strength given to me by the Holy Spirit, I will endure until my end and trust my spirit into the hands of the Father.
How long had Joseph of Arimathea spent carving the tomb that he gave as a gift to the body and memory of Jesus—with no understanding or hope that Jesus would come out alive? This was a bold act of faith, given the political fervor of the day. He had no idea what his gift would mean, or that his tomb would be the scene of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. In a unique way, this act symbolizes the journey offered to each of us: I must decide if I will offer my body back to God, die to myself, and become a new “location” for God to “bring Jesus to life”! Romans 6:4 says, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”
Lord, thank you for bringing Jesus to life after he died to take away my guilt forever. Make my life—my body, mind, soul, strength—a location where I “die to myself” so Jesus can be brought to life in and through me!