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Daily Worship


March 30 | Mark 15:40-47





Sideline Spectators

by Mary Alice McGinnis

Which do you prefer, to be an active participant or a sideline spectator? Anyone who has played a sport can tell you that waiting on the sidelines while watching your team play is difficult. Athletes train and train and train. Then they WAIT in the hope of getting called up to participate in the big game.  

In today’s reading the women who had cared for Jesus during His ministry, are in such a place. They were with Jesus and had heard His teaching. They placed their hopes in Him as their Messiah and given all they had to follow Him. They watched as their Master was cruelly crucified. They listened as He spoke from the cross and watched Him breathe His last. They witnessed it all, watching and waiting - from a distance. What do you suppose was going through their minds?

Joseph of Arimathea had also been a sideline spectator. He was part of the very Council that had plotted to have Jesus crucified. As a prominent member of the Council, showing support of Jesus in any way would surely have caused him to be shunned.

And yet it is said of Joseph, that he was “waiting for the kingdom of God.”

This word WAITING has the connotation of confident expectation, an eager anticipation that God would fulfill all the Old Testament promises concerning the Messiah and His coming Kingdom.

Doesn’t it make you wonder what stirred Joseph at this moment? Had he secretly been hoping that Jesus was the chosen One? Yet, as Jesus lies lifeless and dead, He looks anything but triumphant. And the Romans? They used crucifixion to publicly disgrace those who opposed them, often leaving their mounted dead bodies to decay and be picked clean by birds and wild animals.

What lead Joseph ignore his fear and BOLDLY go to Pilate to ask for Jesus' body? We may never really know. He carefully wrapped the body of Jesus, knowing that any person who touched a dead body would become unclean and prohibited from celebrating the Passover. Yet he did it anyway. God took this man, Joseph of Arimathea, who had once stayed on the sidelines as a spectator and emboldened him to do this act of love for Jesus.

Little did Joseph know that he would become part of the Messiah’s resurrection story.

These women too stayed on the sidelines, watching, and waiting. They witnessed where Jesus’ body was laid. God was preparing them to become the first eyewitnesses of Jesus grand resurrection.

Maybe you are in a place of waiting right now? Maybe things you are experiencing don’t make sense? Maybe you feel like a sideline spectator? Take heart my friends, Jesus’ triumphant story is still unfolding. The Resurrected Jesus is coming back in all His royal power and majesty. In the meantime, may we be watching and waiting. And when we are stirred by the Holy Spirit, may we boldly walk into wherever He invites us into His Story.


Jesus, as we reflect upon the events of this Holy Week, we are in awe of all that You have done for us. We know this is not the end of the story. Yet we often find ourselves feeling like we are just sideline spectators. Help us trust You. Lead us and embolden us to follow You as You invite us into the Glory of Your coming Kingdom.

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