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Mark 275 - Waiting



Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.


Mark 15:44,45


There are many things in life that we don’t like to do, but we have to do. Some people don’t like to go food shopping. Some people, like me, don’t like to go cloths shopping. Some people don’t like to drive long distances. Some people don’t like to wash dishes.


But if there’s one thing that we can all agree on, one thing we really don’t like to do, it’s waiting. Standing around. Sitting around. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for someone to do something.


Just think about your last visit to the doctors. What did you have to do? Wait. Wait. And wait some more. And then you went to the deli counter to pick up some cold cuts. What did you have to do? Wait. Wait. And wait some more. You went to the motor vehicle department to renew your license or car registration. What did you have to do? Wait. Wait. And wait some more.


And that’s what this story is about. Waiting. What’s important here isn’t what was said and done. The most important thing lies just beneath the surface. The crucial action isn’t action at all, it’s the waiting. The silence. The doing of nothing. And that waiting creates a river of drama that flows not just through this story, but also through our lives.


Think about it. Joseph comes to Pilate and asks for Jesus body. What does Pilate do? He delegates. He asks a Centurion to verify whether or not Jesus is really dead. Now, the Centurion didn’t get on his imperial cell phone and text the guys where the three executions took place. He didn’t ask for a picture or video as proof positive whether Jesus was dead or not. No, he either went out himself or sent someone. This meant that someone had to do these three things.


  • Leave – get out of the building where they were and go to where the executions took place. That took some time.

  • Speak – communicate with the soldiers, perhaps looking at Jesus corpse on the cross. That took some time.

  • Return – go back to where Pilate was and give a report. That took time.


Remember, this was when the Jerusalem was full of visitors for the Passover. According to the historian Josephus, Jerusalem overflowed to more than two million people. So the narrow streets would have been crowded, slowing them further.


And all during this time, where’s Joseph? What’s Joseph doing? What was there for him to do during all this going? Talking. Checking. Returning?


Exactly – nothing.


There was nothing to do but wait. And during all this waiting, Joseph is totally out of control. Here’s this high-powered member of the most powerful ruling body of the Jews, the Counsel, and he has no influence on who does what. How they do it. How fast they do it.


This may be where you are today. You’ve done all you can do. You’ve signed in. Checked in. And now you’re waiting. Waiting for your turn. Waiting to be waited on. You’re waiting for a bank teller. For the person behind the counter. For an available checkout person.


You’ve met the people you need to meet with. Talked with all the people you need to talk with. Filled out every form in triplicate. You’ve taken the test and now you’re waiting for the results to come back.


And now you’re waiting. And waiting. And waiting. There’s only so much you can do to fill the seconds, minutes, hours, days. Waiting may be unnatural. Waiting may be frustrating. Waiting may be unnerving. But waiting is vitally important.


Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.


Psalm 37:7a


Waiting is part of God’s plan for you and me. Yes, he’s always there. Always listening. Always loving. Always saving. Always defending. But part of who he is, and his loving plan for us, requires waiting.


And there is a right way to wait for God – patiently. Not demanding. Not tapping your fingers or feet. Not fidgeting with your phone or looking for distractions. The right kind of waiting includes patience.


And if we’re really honest for a minute, we truly don’t like this at all. We want God to show up bigtime. To appear based on our convenience with lightning and thunder. With fire and smoke. We want the earth to shake. Mountains to disappear. Seas to split wide open.


But at the opposite end of reality, there is this quiet, lonely slice of life where we need to wait. And wait patiently.


Now is the time to start learning to wait with patience on God.

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