Today's Daily Reading

Friday, December 15th, 2017

The Descent From The Cross

By Dr. James R. Miller

"When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid, it in his own new tomb." -

According to the Roman custom, the bodies of those who were crucified were left hanging until they were eaten by birds and wild beasts. This barbarous custom being revolting to the Jews, an exception was made in their favor, and burial was permitted. If relatives or friends made application, the body of a crucified man would he given to them to be interred as they saw fit; but if none came it was thrown into a pit. Had it not then been for Joseph and Nicodemus, the body of Jesus would have been cast, with the bodies of the robbers by his side, into the common receptacle for criminals. Thanks to the love of these hitherto secret disciples, though dying on a cross, our blessed Lord was buried like a king.

We may dwell with loving thought upon the scenes of this hour. First, the body was taken down, not by the rude, unfeeling soldiers, but by Joseph himself, aided by Nicodemus, and probably by some other friends. How tenderly this would be done we can imagine when we think of the love that was in the hearts of these friends. Then the blood was washed from the face, hands, feet, and side. Next, the body was wrapped in the linen, with the spices and the ointments. Then, with farewell kisses impressed on the silent lips by the loving, sorrowing friends who stood by, the face was covered with the napkin, and the cold form was tenderly borne to the sepulcher near at hand, amid garden plants and flowers, and was laid away to rest.

We cannot study this scene of the burial of our blessed Lord without rich spiritual profit. Shall we not, for one thing, seek to carry away a spirit of loving gentleness which shall make our love deeper and our touch softer as we go out among sorrowing ones?

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