Sunday, April 30, 2017


32While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
34But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” (Matthew 9:32-34)

Thoughts: Jesus healed someone.  Demons do not heal or help anyone.  Yet because the Pharisees did not want to put their trust in Jesus they had to say he was bad some how.  This is the ultimate example of calling good evil.  But it is an old psychological and political trick.  If you can't figure an argument out against someone- go ad hominem (against the man)-- demonize them. If you say enough bad things against them often enough perhaps people will start to believe it.  The Pharisees many times said Jesus was demonic (Mt. 12:24f; Jn. 8:48 et al).   It was an effort to get people to not see his amazing miracles as from God, and not listening to his astounding teachings.   We should test evil not against our wishes or preconceived desires, but what the scriptures say is good or bad.  

Prayer: Lord, give me wisdom to call good what you call good.  Help me to be a blessing to those around me as you were.  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cry for Mercy

27As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
28When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
29Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; 30and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region. (Matthew 9:27-31)

Thoughts: The call of the two blind men is our call as well: "Have mercy on us King!"  We are blind to God and blind to the darkness of our own sin.  We are quick to condemn others and to be angry and slow to listen.  We need mercy, and their recognition is that Jesus, as the Son of King David, was able to govern and give mercy.
      Jesus asked them if they believed he could heal their blindness.  They asked him too, but it is possible to ask and not really expect help.
        Jesus healed them by touching them.  Some he healed without touching (like the centurion's servant and  Lazarus).  Some, he lifted up- like the little girl he raised from the dead.  But here he touched them and made them whole.
         Why did Jesus tell them not to tell anyone.  It was when the crowds came back to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday that the plot to kill Jesus took effect.  Jesus knew that if people really saw that he could heal them, there would be an onslaught of people coming for help.  Jesus main mission was to heal through the cross not just the blind, dumb, and hurting.  Out task is to cry for mercy and then to believe that with God nothing is impossible!

Prayer: Lord, have mercy on me.  Do not treat me as I deserve.  But help me to live for your sake, honoring you with my faith and action.  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Healing of the Dead and the Bleeding

18While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
20Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
23When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26News of this spread through all that region. (Matthew 9:18-26)

Thoughts: These two healings go together and contrast. One is a girl who is dead.  The other is an older woman who was bleeding- hemorrhaging for years.  Both these healings show tremendous humility.  The synagogue ruler knlt and had faith that Jesus could even raise his dead daughter.  The woman said, If I can only touch the edge/tassel of his cloak, I will be healed.  She had no hope in the doctors, or in the medicine of his day.
     The crowd doesn;'t have faith in Jesus.  But the father of the girl and the woman who was bleeding had faith.  Faith unlocks the key to power.  If we do not have faith 2 squelch the power of god.   The power of Jesus to help whe no one else had hope for help should encourage us all to look to God and have faith. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to take heart and to look to you, the Great Physician.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The New and the Old

16“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Thoughts:  Life is constantly changing.  Who would have thought forty years ago that there would be only a handful of pay phones?  Who would have thought in 1998 when Kodak was running three shifts full speed, that people would stop using film for pictures altogether in seven years.  Change happens like it or not.  It is a part of living.  But we do not worship change, and we need to be careful how we handle it.
    Jesus addresses change in this passage.  His disciples are different from John the Baptist's disciples or the Pharisees.  He is different from them.  He came to make a change- to make a difference.  He is not nearly concerned about the old structures that supported the old theories, as He is of making things new.  Jesus came to bring hope, love, grace infusing these things into an old religion that had become bogged down in rules- losing the heart of what they do.
     The church changes.  New ideas, if they are valid and tested by the Word of God, should be nurtured and given room to grow.  One of the mottos of the Reformation is "Reformed and ever reforming according to the Word of God."  That is, we must make sure it is wine before we put it into the wine skins; and the wine testing is the scripture.  Yet, we are to continually be reforming and changing- adapting to the providence around us- where God is molding and meets us.  Too often the words "we've never done it that way before" get in the way.  The church does not exist to shore up the structure but to shore up the soul.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to go with the flow of change and to guard my heart.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Room to Be a Happy Follower

14Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
15Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. (Matthew 9:14-15) 

Thoughts: There is a time to weep and a time to dance Ecclesiastes says.   Jesus came to tell the people to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, but he also came to give them joy, healing, and hope.  Jesus doesn't want us to spend our whole lives fasting and in sorrow.  He came to release us from having to make up for sin by His blood on the cross.  Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life and have it to the full [abundantly\ Jn. 10:10.  The Messiah only ministered for three short years.  Those years were to be enjoyed and celebrated.  There is a clear break here between the followers of John whose call was simply to repent and be baptized and Jesus who asks us to repent, be baptized, and then follow Him into the hope of new life.  There is a joy to the world because the Lord has come-- let earth receive her King.  Let heaven and nature sing!  There is room- even a calling to be a positive follower of Christ.  The world may crucify you- but there is a resurrection.  God wins in the end- and for that we should have hope and joy.  As Paul said, "Be joyful always...rejoice in the Lord always again I say, "Rejoice!"

Prayer: Lord, may your joy overflow in my life.  Keep me from being too dour.  Even when I see my own sin- give me hope of your forgiveness and courage to follow you.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

God for Sinners

9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13)

Thoughts: Matthew writes of his own testimony.  Matthew was willing to leave his despised but lucrative life as a tax collector to be a follower of Christ.  Matthew had found hope and purpose beyond just earning money.  He wanted to share that hope with his former friends- who were not religious leaders but other tax collectors and sinners.  Tax collectors were despised because they worked with the hated Romans.  Sinners were those who not only sinned but did not repent or live by faith.  The Pharisees wanted to keep themselves pure from collaborators with Gentiles and those who lived selfish, evil lives.  But it is not the healthy who need humility and repentance but those who are in need.
    This doesn't teach us to hate the rules as much as it should teach us to be more gracious and loving than we tend to be.  It also should teach us to befriend people that may not have it altogether.  We do not have to have it altogether to come to Jesus.  Jesus comes to us in love and helps us to get it together.  It is not that these people Jesus ate with do not have needs- they need a "doctor" and healing.  But the doctor went among the sick, and we are called not to live in holy huddles- with the salt of the world still in the salt shaker.  We are called to get out there- and to let the light and love of Christ shine through us.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to be humble and listen to you.   Give me grace to care for the hurting in life- those who need a little extra grace.  Thank you that you pour your grace on me when I do not deserve it.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Forgiveness and Healing

1Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
3At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?5Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7Then the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.  (Matthew 9:1-8)

Thoughts: The main point of this passage is to show that Jesus can forgive sins- which is a divine thing to do.  But there are some important secondary things here too.
      The sick man was brought to Jesus by four individuals.  We are to be carriers of the cot.  We are called to bring people to the One who can help them far more than we can.  He is the One who can forgive sins and also heal us- in this life or the next.  
This also tells us of the authority of Jesus.  How do we know he forgives?  He enables a man to walk as a sign of his forgiveness.  Many are weighed down with sickness because we are unable to get over our past and our guilt.  Jesus knew and proclaimed inner healing that showed itself in physical exterior healing.  By His wounds that give forgiveness we are healed.
      Even today, Jesus still brings healing and hope through forgiveness.  Though our sins are as scarlet, in Him they shall be as white as snow.  
In the end, this proclamation of healing and forgiveness brings praise to God.  

Prayer: Lord, heal me, help me and make me whole.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jesus, the demoniacs and pigs

28When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,c two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.29“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. (Matthew 8:28-34)

Thoughts: Jesus went into what is considered enemy territory- the territory of the Gentiles.  Demon possession in the pagan world of that time was a common occurrence.  To be filled with a spirit could help with fortune telling or power. The two men were violent- wild men.  You would think that the people of that area would want them healed so they could pass that way.
     The demons gave testimony to Jesus.  They called him "Son of God." They also spoke of his authority to control them.  They also pointed out an appointed time when they knew they would be defeated under His control.
      When Jesus sent the demons into the pigs (Jews saw pigs as despicable animals that they could not eat), the pigs destroyed themselves.  This points out that these demons were destroying the two men.  But the healing of the two men was not as important as the commerce they could get from the pigs.  So it is in our day.  We are not nearly concerned for the well  being of people as we are that our profit continues to grow.  Much less would we care for the spiritual well being of others.  The defeat of the idea of a Sabbath as something that a society ought to keep is an example of this.  We do not value rest, family, and time to collectively catch our breath as much as we value being competitive and possibly making more.  Christians are called to value people and faith more than money.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to value you and your peace more than money.  Help me to value money less and you more.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

To be a follower means to listen

20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Thoughts: To make someone a disciple of Jesus means to follow the teachings of Jesus.  It makes no sense to say that we are disciples of Jesus when we do not nor do we intend to follow him.  Yet to follow Christ also means to deny ourselves as He denied heaven, and taking up our cross as He took up His.  When we follow Him and listen to Him, He is with us.  When we follow Him and His teachings He is with us wherever we go whenever we follow.  There is nowhere we go that He is not there. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to follow you one step at a time.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Fullness of God for all the People

 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

Thoughts: "Therefore go" could be as easily translated "Having gone."  The difference in the two translations is subtle (conveying the aorist passive participle).  It conveys the idea that because Some have translated this- "therefore as you are going."  What is the "therefore" there for?  Right before it says, "all authority has been given me... therefore..."   We have confidence to go because Jesus has gone to the pits of hell and the heights of heaven and conquered them all.  We do not need to be afraid of going or to be afraid of death.
    Jesus is concerned about all nations (pante ta ethne).  He is not just concerned with Israel, or the United States- and He wants us also to care for all people and not just those like us.  All nations need Jesus.  All nations- all peoples (ethne could be translated peoples), need the Lord and the hope of eternal life.  We are to seek to not just tell them- like one huge internet or radio blast.  We are called to make disciples- make followers of Christ which is a much more difficult calling.
    Baptism is the initiation into following.  It is not just baptizing in the name of the Father- like all who believe in a creator God are following the same call.  We are also to baptize in the name of the Son Jesus.  We are also called to baptize into the Spirit- who makes the baptism real for us.   God in His full self is expressed in Father- Son- and Holy Spirit.  We should not want just a part god- but the fullness expressed in the Trinity- the one in three.  So it is not just the Spirit of God- some spirituality without the hope of the resurrection of Christ that counts.  Nor is it just worshiping Jesus- and leaving out the Old Testament God or the presence of God- working today. The world needs to be baptized in the fullness of God, and we do not need to shrink back from telling the world the richness of the love of God. 

Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to go and make disciples.  Give me the grace to speak of you fully without hesitiation because the world needs you.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

All Authority to Christ

 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  (Matthew 28:18)

Thoughts: Jesus, at the resurrection, was restored to His rightful authority.  He was not just non-dead- but living with power.  He was not just a walking zombie- but a restored Lord of all.  All authority in heaven is given to Him.  That means no angel, no archangel, no spiritual power is more powerful than Jesus. No authority on earth has more power than Him.  He is the King of kings and more powerful than the emperor of Rome at his height.  This is similar to the verse from Philippians 2:9-11 "9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Jesus humbled himself lower than anyone can- in a manger, as a refugee, as a homeless teacher, on the cross.  He teaches us that the meek will inherit the earth.  We do not need to be afraid- for God has all authority in heaven and earth.  

Prayer: Lord, I seek you in humility.  You are worthy of my praise and worship. I do not need to  be afraid of death or of anything in life- for all authority has been given to you.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Doubt and Worship in Galilee

16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. (Matthew 28:16-17)

Thoughts: So where did Thomas doubt, and how did he doubt.  Doubtless (pun intended) this is talking about Thomas- one of the eleven who doubted and maybe another.  Let me ask you, have you ever doubted?  You probably believe now, but maybe there have been times when doubt had you.  The amazing thing is that they all still went to Galilee to see him-and after they saw him they doubted.  Doubt sometimes will not let us believe our eyes.  Other times doubt will not let us believe our head.  Doubt is not just a matter of the intellect or senses- it is a matter of the will.  Do you will to believe in the living Christ?    Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).  It doesn't matter where Thomas doubted or is his faith wavered.  In the end, Thomas kept the faith and gave his life- as did all the others.  John was the only one who died of old age and even he had been in exile in Patmos for a long time.  Do not let doubt control you.  They all worshiped- even those with doubts.  Doubts will come- but will to believe.  Will to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  This is a command of faith because it is a matter of the will.  

Prayer: Lord, you are worthy of my worship and faith and life.  I believe, help me overcome my unbelief. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Guards and the Truth

11While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28:11-15)

Thoughts: Matthew speaks of the guards far more than the other gospels.  It almost seems as if Matthew had talked to a guard who was there.  The guards who were told to guard the tomb had become a liability to the elders and chief priests as the soldiers saw the empty tomb and the angel who came and sat at the tomb.  The chief priests came up with hush money for the guards.  Roman law is that any soldier sleeping on guard duty would be put to death.  So for them to say they were asleep is a risky thing for them to say.  But the chief priests said they would allow them to get off of any charges.  Cover up is an amazing thing.  The people who covered up for Watergate knew they were covering up for wrong, but they also justified it as a way to defend the institution of the presidency.  So here, lying and risking punishment were used to defend the chief priests and elders of the land.  This should teach us to value truth above pre-conceived ideas.  Truth will be on God's side.  He is the ultimate reality figure.  

Prayer: Lord, let me live for what is true and real.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Christ appears to the women

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:8-10)

Thoughts: Jesus appeared to the women.  He was exalting those who were in humble estate.  The women showed their humility by grasping his feet and worshiping Him.
    Jesus told them not to be afraid.  The angel said the same words earlier (28:5).  Jesus is not a ghost. But He is saying more than just to not be afraid of Him.  He is encouraging us to have courage- for He has overcome death.  We do not need to live as cowards, but we need to have courage to spread the news that Jesus is alive.  We do not need to shrink back in fear of being criticized or misunderstood.  The women were to be the first to spread the good news- the first evangelists.  

Prayer: Lord, make me bold to spread the good news that there is hope beyond this life.  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Resurrection

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
(Matthew 28:1-7)

Thoughts: When did Jesus rise from the dead? It was a Sunday.  Most Christians worship on Sunday because Jesus rose then.  On Easter many churches have sunrise services remembering that Jesus rose- and this was discovered early in the morning- at dawn.  Each week we worship on Sunday as a celebration of Easter.
      The women were worried how the stone would be rolled from the mouth of the tomb.  But an angel rolled it and appeared at the tomb.  The angel didn't mind scaring the guards, but to the women who came to care for Jesus' body he said, "Fear not."  The angel basically said that if you don't believe me then believe the empty tomb.  Today we can still see the empty tomb in Jerusalem.  It was renovated this year.  In many years the date for Easter is different for the Orthdodox/eastern Christians and the western Christians.  But this year Easter coincides, and therefore it is extra special.  Let us all unite in bearing witness that not only is the tomb empty- but the Lord is risen just as He said. 

Prayer: Lord, Thank you that you are alive.  Your hope fills my soul.  May it flow out of my life to others.  

1st century Jewish tomb-
The stone was on a slot that rolled across the tomb's mouth. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Mocking, Cross, and Burial

 27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. 31After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
      32As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.
The Crucifixion
      33And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, 34they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.
      35And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
      38At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42“He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43“HE TRUSTS IN GODLET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.
      45Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELILAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GODWHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” 47And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, begansaying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
      55Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. 56Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Jesus Is Buried
      57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.
      62Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ 64“Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” 66And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.  (Matthew 27:27-66)

Thoughts: The mocking, the cross, and the burial are all part of the ultimate humiliation of Jesus.  It is almost unimaginable that the Maker of the world who was willing to redeem the world would be mocked, crucified and buries.  They mocked him specifically as a king.  But His kingship is still going on while the mockers are long gone.  Jesus is able to relate to those who are mocked.
     The crucifixion is hard enough.  But the continued mocking from the religious leaders and even the other robbers made the death even more humiliating.  Matthew does not concentrate on the blood (nailing, piercing) as much as concentrating on the spiritual significance.  Christ was crucified in an undeserving way. He was innocent but was crucified as a robber.
     His burial is a sign that his death really happened.  It is the surety that he did not faint or fake his death.  1 Cor. 15:3-4 speaks of  burial as an important part of the Christian message.  The burial symbolized the certainty of his death. The seal and a guard also symbolized this.  But God cannot stay buried, or dead, or mocked.  In the end God wins out.  It is good and important to be on His side.

Prayer: Lord, in your humility I learn that I need more humility.  It is in humility that I learn more of you.  Help me to humbly give myself to you.