Waiting for the Kingdom
Scripture: 50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, 51 but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. 52 He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. 54 This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law. [Luke 23:50-56 NLT] It seemed like it took forever. We had known for months it was coming and yet it seemed like the day would never arrive. There were plans that had been made. We took extra measures to tell people about the day and even invite them to be a part of the excitement. The days seemed to move way too slowly, almost agonizingly at times. There was a sense of anticipation and excitement that was building. As the day grew closer and closer the plans were coming together and the excitement was growing. Then, finally, the day arrived. All of the guests were arriving and the plans were being carried out. You may have already guessed that I am talking about our wedding day. I remember time moving so slowly as Debbie and I anticipated our wedding day. Then, seemingly in the blink of an eye, it was over. It was wonderful, but the wait was not always easy. This seems to be our human nature. Some people are more patient than others, but most people don’t like to have to wait. It doesn’t matter if the wait is for our favorite movie to be released, our food to come to our table, or our wedding day. We don’t like to wait. What makes this reality of human nature even harder is the fact that most things in life do not happen instantaneously. We have to wait. The old saying tells us that “good things come to those who wait.” Jesus even told the disciples concerning the Holy Spirit to “wait for the gift my Father promised.” We don’t like to wait. That is what is remarkable about today’s Scripture passage. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a member of the leadership charged with deciding about Jesus, did not agree with the way the council had decided to treat Jesus. From what we read we can see that Joseph had a reason he did not agree. Luke tells us that Joseph “was waiting for the kingdom of God.” Joseph was focused on something different than the other leaders. The other leaders seemed to be very concerned about the here and now. The other leaders were worried about how Jesus was challenging their power and position. Joseph was different. Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God to come and he obviously thought that Jesus had something to do with that happening. Joseph was waiting, but he also was acting. He was waiting and he realized that Jesus was a part of God’s kingdom coming. That is why he asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. That is why Joseph took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in the tomb. Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God to come and little did he know that Jesus had already brought that kingdom to reality. Three days later Jesus would break the reality wide open through the resurrection. Today is Holy Saturday. It is a day where we are to wait. We wait in eager anticipation of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Spend time today waiting. As you wait, honor Jesus bringing the kingdom of God near through prayer, fasting, reading Scripture, journaling your thoughts, and meditating on the significance of Jesus’ death. Tomorrow we will all celebrate the risen Lord, Jesus. Today wait! Prayer: Holy and loving God, today I wait. I wait for your kingdom to come and your will to be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you for your Son’s death and sacrifice on the cross. Empower me to wait and not to celebrate too soon. Even though it is difficult to wait until tomorrow, I want to understand what it means to wait in you. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.