Have you ever done any gardening? From the time I was a kid, I was always intrigued by gardens, planting seeds that would take shape over time, becoming something so delightfully different in form from what was planted.
This Sunday as we continue our study in Luke, we’ll be reading about a different kind of planting – the burial of Jesus. We’ll be reading Luke 23:50-56.
In John’s gospel, Jesus made the statement “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
Just like when I was a child, I look at the shape of the seed and wonder what shape the harvest will take. That’s something I believe is forecast in the account of Jesus’ burial. It’s way more than just a connecting passage between Jesus’ death and what’s about to happen (I hate spoiling it for you, but Jesus’ death doesn’t take).
We get introduced to a character named Joseph of Arimathea. He was a member of the Sanhedrin who didn’t go along with their plan to have Jesus executed, which makes him at very least sympathetic with Jesus’ ministry. He asks Pilate for the body to be buried. How might this have been a risky move for him, given what just happened between Pilate and the Sanhedrin during the trial? What does this social, political and even religious risk he takes tell us about the nature of this new life we receive from Christ?
In v 55, who are the followers of Jesus that the narrative focuses on? Do you find it interesting that none of the big names of the disciples are present? In fact, we don’t even find out the names of the women disciples in Luke’s telling of this. A radical upheaval in the order of this broken world’s systems comes into focus here – what do you think it might be?
I think this will be an interesting and encouraging passage to examine together – I hope you can join us this Sunday!