Day 4:The Testimony Tree
Are you enjoying this Easter journey so far?
Oh, I hope so!
On day three we talked about three women who bore testimony with their words. Today we will learn about two people who bore testimony of Jesus through their actions.
After Jesus died two men asked to take the body of Jesus and bury Him. Who these men were is very significant. Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the high court in Israel. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who came to visit Jesus late one night. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin.
But Joseph and Nicodemus had each experienced a change of heart. They were willing to give up what would hold them back from Christ.
After Jesus died, they took the body of Jesus and wound it in linen clothes with myrrh and aloes.
I am impressed that these two men took the body of Jesus, cared for it, and laid it in a tomb, at great risk to their own safety and reputation.
These men chose Christ, even though it might have meant losing all that they had attained in the world.
I think of those few hours before the Sabbath began and I can't help but imagine the tenderness with which they carefully prepared the body with the linen and incense before placing it into the new sepulcher. Amidst their careful preparations, was there any idea of what would take place at that garden spot in three days' time?
They couldn't possibly have foreseen the joy that would fill the empty space that had been carved out in preparation by their grief. Did they have any inkling that after the grieving they would experience firsthand the gift that would console every grief?
We don't know.
But we do know this: There was One who surely watched that moment of tender devotion and dedication. One who had been willing to give up everything in their behalf and in ours. One who performed the ultimate gift born of sacrifice, which is the greatest gift ever given.
The empty tomb would become a witness of His gift.
In the book of Job we read of a moment in the midst of Job's trial when He tells His friends He wishes he could put his words in a book, that he could write them with an iron pen, that he could carve them in a rock forever…the words were these: I know that my redeemer lives.
I love the thought of writing down our testimony of Jesus Christ with an iron pen.
The tradition: Cut off some tree branches and put them in a vase. Next, write your testimony of Jesus Christ on a small piece of paper. When you are done, carefully roll it up and place it in a plastic egg. Hang the egg with a piece of twine from the branches in the vase. This becomes your testimony tree.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus remind us that devotion, dedication, and sacrifice will sometimes require giving up in an effort to offer heavenward.