[When Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus' body,] Pilate couldn't believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body.
— Mark 15:44-45 NLT
We should gather several bits of valuable information from these verses:
- Jesus died more quickly than most facing crucifixion — the brutal treatment with his beating and scourging, something most who were crucified did not endure, took a heavy physical toll on Jesus' body. He died a horribly punishing death.
- Jesus was clearly and legally confirmed dead by those experienced in the work of torture and death, so there was no doubt that he died.
- Joseph could not remain a "closet" follower of Jesus and pick up his body — he had to request it from the one who gave permission for Jesus to be crucified, Pilate himself. Joseph's actions are just one example that Jesus' death summoned up something deep within people that touched them and moved them to honor him.
These facts are historically important and certified by witnesses, and they must be spiritually important to us and move us to honor him with our lives today.
Father, thank you for Jesus' willingness to submit to such horrible suffering and death so that we — so that I — can be reconciled to you. Please help me to continually remember his sacrifice and let it be a continual reminder that I need to live my life as a daily praise to you and him. In Jesus' name. Amen.