A Nearby Tomb
Scripture: John 19:42 CEB “Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus in it.” A lot of people like to plan ahead. Having a plan can alleviate a lot of stress and pressure. There is no guess work, you just follow the plan. I mean we have all sat around and had the ridiculous “what do you want to do” discussion, right? If you have a plan that discussion is out of the question. Someone may ask, “What is the plan?” All you do is show them the plan! I happened to know several people who love to plan. Many years ago, our family went on vacation at a resort in the Florida Keys without a plan. We spent most of our first few days just hanging out in or by the pool. I thought it was great and the kids were enjoying the pool. Little did I know it was driving Debbie crazy. She is a planner and we had no plan. Almost every Thursday night Debbie will ask me, “What’s your plan for tomorrow?” (Friday is my day off.) My response is always the same, “I don’t have a plan. It’s my day off.” Are you a planner? Or do you like to take things as they come? This is what I think of when I read the Scripture verse, and its context, for today. Jesus is being crucified and there is no place to bury his body. No one has planned for this. Jesus even said that the Son of God had no place to lay his head while alive. In his death there is no place arranged for him to lay his head either. This seems like poor planning. Why didn’t someone think of this. So, while Jesus is dying, Joseph of Arimathea notices this and asks Pilate if he can take Jesus’ body for burial. Joseph is a planner. He and Nicodemus, remember him, take Jesus’ body and the burial spices to a tomb that was nearby for burial. It does not say in this passage that it was anyone’s tomb in particular. It was simply nearby. Is Jesus laid in the closest tomb because of poor planning? Did no one think of this at all? The Savior of humanity is buried in a borrowed tomb because it just happened to be nearby! The question really becomes, “Was this poor planning or divine providence?” It could have been poor planning. If so, it would have been the same kind of poor planning that led to the scene in the manger. If so, it would have been the same kind of poor planning that led to 5,000 people being fed. If so, it would have been the same kind of poor planning that gave Peter the faith to walk on water. If so, it would have been the same kind of poor planning that raised Lazarus from the grave. If so, it would be the same kind of poor planning that led to a young colt being available to carry Jesus into Jerusalem. I don’t believe for a second that the nearby tomb was used because of poor planning. I believe it was there to be used by God’s divine providence. The people involved may not have had a plan, but God had a grand plan. Every step of the way God was providing for Jesus—from Bethlehem all the way to Calvary. God provided everything necessary for Jesus to fulfill his purpose—to seek and save the lost. Today, will you trust in God’s divine provision? Will you believe that God has a plan? God’s plan is to provide for your redemption. Jesus is God’s plan. Will you place all your trust in him today? Whether you are a planner or go with the flow, God has a plan. When you don’t know exactly what that plan is have faith that God knows. On this Holy Saturday we remember the nearby tomb as a reminder of God’s provision and providence. Tomorrow the tomb will be empty. Today Jesus’ body lays in a nearby tomb. Tomorrow Jesus will be risen, forever! Hallelujah! God provides for everyone. Prayer: God of Bethlehem and God of Calvary, thank you for your providence. You are amazing the way that you provide for all our needs. I will trust you today for all my needs. I will trust in your Holy Spirit to guide me to where I need to be. I will continue to trust Jesus for my salvation. In the name of Jesus. Amen.