Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 27:55-61
This is the third Sunday of Lent. We are asking this question during Lent: What is the Way of the Cross?
On the first Sunday of Lent, we examined the way Jesus handled all the insults and mockeries. We learned that having a clear identity and calling is the key to handling pressures from outside. Last Sunday, we examined the irony of the Cross. When we sacrifice ourselves and offer our lives, we actually gain life. We do not just live but we can even save others. The Way of the Cross includes our trust in God and the understanding of God’s will. We can figure out how to connect all the dots and understand God’s will and trust in God’s time for God’s works.
Today, we are going to examine the passage to see what we have to ask God and what we have to keep in our lives. We see this faithful man from Arimathea. He was rich. He had purchased his own tomb for himself in advance. However, when he experienced Jesus’ death he decided to donate his tomb for Jesus. Just read what he did! He wrapped the body in a clean linen cloth. He placed the body in his own new tomb that he had cut out of rock. It must have cost him a lot. Then he rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and protected the body. How careful he was! How loyal he was to Jesus!
How about the women? Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, and Mary, the mother of Zebedee’s sons. They were there watching all the things from a distance. They were afraid. They could not come near. However, they were faithful, too. They were sitting there at the tomb.
The women and Joseph from Arimathea were all faithful people. They did their best to pay respect to Jesus, I mean to Jesus’ body! Many times, there are people who pay respect to the body but not the being of Jesus. They are the ones who love church buildings never realizing the church is not a building! When we say that the church is the body of Jesus Christ, we do not mean the building but the people in it. So, if we do not care for the people and maintain the building we are like Joseph from Arimathea who cared for the body of Jesus without knowing that Jesus was not the body. Jesus was more than the body!
We can have a nice car without gasoline. Where can we go then with the car? We can have a computer without any software. What can we do with the computer? We need a church building but we need to go further. The Way of Cross encourages us to pay attention to the souls and lives of the people.
In Jerusalem, in the Temple, Jesus found money changers, men selling cattle, sheep, and doves. Jesus drove them out of the Temple with a whip, scattering the coins. Jesus was angry when people turned God’s house into a market. Jesus said that he would destroy the Temple and build it in three days. Jesus would destroy any religion which had no life in it. John Wesley also said that he would not worry about the disappearance of the Methodist Church. He prayed that the Methodist Church would not exist as a form with no spirit and power in it.
The Way of the Cross allows the body to be crucified. The Way of the Cross promises, however, the resurrection of the body in a new form. We should nullify any powerless forms of religion and pray for the power and life of Jesus in our daily lives. May God pour out the Holy Spirit upon all of us and make us filled with the Spirit!
• When do you feel that our worship is alive and full of the Spirit?
• What ministry in our church right now makes you feel that you are a part of God’s movement in God’s mission field?