LISTEN TO COME AND SEE! CHAPTER 24 – FRIENDS OR FOES?
Welcome to this special Easter edition of Redeeming the Chaos with Laurie Christine!
A FAMILY DEVOTIONAL FOR EASTER
For 30 days leading up to Easter, I will be reading to you from my easter devotional book, Come and See! 30 Family Bible Stories for Easter.
Today, I am reading Come and See! Chapter 24 – FRIENDS OR FOES?
Come and See! invites families of elementary-aged children to experience firsthand the anticipation, the sorrow, the tragedy, the fear, and the ultimate triumph of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Through the eyes of six eye witnesses, you will be led on a journey through the busyness of the streets of Jerusalem, to the despair of Golgotha, and finally to the celebration of the empty grave.
This bookincludes 30 short devotional stories, each with accompanying Scripture references and questions for discussion and imagination.
We are going to be reading one story each day leading up to Easter. You’re welcome to grab the kids and listen together for your family Bible time. Or, if you would rather read to your kids on your own, you can DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF THE ENTIRE EBOOK HERE.
LISTEN TO COME AND SEE! CHAPTER 24 – FRIENDS OR FOES?
READ COME AND SEE! CHAPTER 24 – FRIENDS OR FOES?
FRIENDS OR FOES? – Told by Mary Magdalene, Follower of Jesus
After a while, the Roman soldiers began to leave, and the crowds began to disappear. The Sabbath would begin soon, and families must hurry to prepare their Passover lambs before nightfall. Only a few of the other women and I were still near the cross, clinging together under the shadow of a nearby olive tree.
From a distance, we saw two men approach the cross where Jesus’ body was hanging. They wore long, black robes; striped prayer shawls; and black head coverings. The men gently lowered Jesus’ limp body down from the cross, laid it on a sleeping mat, and covered it with a linen cloth. Lifting the four corners of the mat, they slowly trudged down the hill.
I recognized the men’s clothing as that of the Pharisees — the religious leaders who had ordered Jesus to be put to death. I clenched my fists in anger. What were they doing? Where were they taking him? How dare they take away my Lord’s body. Jesus at least deserved to have a proper burial ceremony!
A sense of urgent panic crept into my heart. We had to do something. We had to make sure Jesus received a proper burial, according to Jewish custom. Feeling a sudden urge to confront the men, I jumped up. I know it seemed crazy, but I didn’t care. Jesus deserved to be buried by his friends, not his killers. And besides, I hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye.
“Ladies, let’s go. We need to find out where these men are taking Jesus’ body.”
“Mary, are you feeling okay? What if the Roman guards show up?” The other women were understandably nervous after the events of the day.
Nothing mattered to me anymore. I had to know where these men were taking my Lord. I took a deep breath, wiped my tear-streaked face with the back of my hand, and set off down the path.
“Okay, fine!” Salome and the other Mary called out to me. “Hold up, we’re coming with you.”
We hurried down the path leading away from the Hill of Golgotha. Running ahead of the other women, I raced to catch up with the two men.
“Excuse me, sirs?” I gasped. “Can you please tell me where you are taking this man? My name is Mary, from Magdala — I know, it’s hard to keep all of us Marys straight. My friends and I would really love to give this man a proper burial ceremony.”
The men stopped to look at me, gently lowering the stretcher that held Jesus’ body.
“Oh, Mary.” The older man reached out and gently touched my arm. “Our hearts are breaking at the events of this day. It’s all so tragic.” His eyes were kind and full of sadness, and I knew he actually meant what he said.
“So, you’re not the ones who ordered Jesus to be killed?” I asked with astonishment.
The two men exchanged hesitant glances. “Well, yes, and no…” the younger man replied. “My name is Joseph, from Arimathea, and this is my friend, Nicodemus.”
The older man nodded at me with a sad smile, his aging skin crinkling near his eyes.
“What you say is partly true,” Joseph continued. “We are both members of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council that had ordered Jesus to be crucified. However, neither one of us was in support of the decisions that were made today.”
The older man, the one called Nicodemus, spoke up. “Both Joseph and I believe that this man, Jesus, is… or, I guess was who he claimed to be. We were fairly certain that he was the Promised Child, the Messiah, who had been prophesied for thousands of years. Although, we were unable to admit it publicly amongst our colleagues, for obvious reasons… but now….” His voice trailed off, and a look of sadness filled his eyes. He continued, “But now that Jesus is dead, we are really not sure what to think. We feel absolutely terrible about how this has all ended. We thought the very least we could do was to give Jesus a proper burial.”
Ahhh! Relief flooded my soul. These men were friends! They too were followers of Jesus. And they too wanted to give him a proper burial!
“Oh, that is so good to hear!” I blurted, resisting the urge to throw my arms around Nicodemus’ neck. “My friends and I are eager to anoint Jesus’ body with oils and spices. But we need to go home and prepare them quickly before the Sabbath begins.”
Joseph, the younger man, smiled at me. “Yes, of course, Mary. You must have been a dear friend of Jesus to show him such honor, even after his death. Do you see that stony hill over there? I own that land. There’s a new tomb just over the crest of the hill that’s never been used. That’s where we’re taking Jesus. But hurry, the sun is nearly setting, and the Sabbath will soon begin.”
We turned and hurried back into the city to purchase the costly perfumes and oils that we would use to anoint Jesus’ body. My heart felt a tiny bit lighter than it had an hour ago. I was thankful to have an opportunity to honor Jesus in this way. As we walked down the dusty road, the sun chased us with its rays as it sunk into the horizon.