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Mark 277 - Watching

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Mark 15:47

At the end, it’s always private.

After my mom died during the early days of COVID, I watched over her body in the middle of the night while waiting for the undertaker. It was my dad and I watching over her body in the funeral home. It was my dad, my wife, and me, sitting on the front row of the church during her memorial service.

Think about it. After the arrest, trials, meeting, whippings, crucifixion, and death, the crowds disappear. Only a chosen handful remain. Not necessarily relatives. Not necessarily people who knew Jesus the longest. Kew Jesus the best. But those who still had an important part to play.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus leave. The body is placed in the tomb, and the stone is rolled in front as the last glimmer of sunlight fades in the west. There are no mourning crowds. No great cries of sadness or loss.

But the final brushstroke on this painting are the words that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph were there. They didn’t help with bringing Jesus’ body down off the cross. They didn’t carry him through the streets. They didn’t buy the spices or linen cloth. They didn’t prepare the body or wrap it. They didn’t carry it to the tomb or roll the stone in front.

Even through they didn’t do any of these things, their part is most important. Their role is so significant that Mark takes the time and trouble to record it. What did they do?

They watched.

But they didn’t just take a passing glance. They took it all in. They watched carefully, looking at all the details. There was no doubt about where they were. They knew exactly what they were seeing. Who was there. What they were doing. There was not going to be any misunderstandings.

But why was this so important? After all, what’s the big deal anyway? The chief priests and Pharisees knew exactly where Jesus was buried. If they didn’t, then they couldn’t have put a seal on the stone and posted a guard[1].

What makes this so important is that these women are the thread connecting the death of Jesus to his resurrection. They were eyewitnesses to his being dead and where the body was laid. They knew exactly where the tomb was so they could return early Sunday morning.

But their witness was going to be used in many different ways. Their testimony would stand the test of time and history against the false story that the disciples came at night and stole Jesus body[2] It also totally disproves any idea that Jesus didn’t die, or faked his death[3].

God put these women at the right place. At the right time. Why? So they could be powerful eyewitnesses. Their testimony, their recollection, their story is airtight and convincing. And the best way to be a witness is to watch. To stand still and see.

There comes a time in all our lives when the only thing left to do is watch. To be where God wants us to be. To stand still and watch.

So now, take your positions and watch this great thing that the LORD is about to do in your sight.

1 Samuel 12:16

We are told to do two things

First, we have to take our position. We have to be where God wants us to be. Being the kind of people that God wants us to be. When we arrive where God wants us to be, we have to stand still so we can devote all our attention.

Second, we have to watch. To be on the lookout, to observe with great interest.

And why? Not to see the things that God has done. But to see the GREAT things that God is ABOUT to do. We are to look forward to the great things God is going to do in the future. In our future.

And that’s what faith is: looking forward with eager anticipation for the great things God is going to do.

So, what’s your position as you look forward to the great things that God is bringing in your future?

[1] Matthew 27:66 [2] Matthew 28:13-15 [3] Commonly referred to as the swoon theory

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