to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
October 21, 2019 – Monday
Luke 23:55-56 NIV
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it.
56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Just to make it clear, this is shortly after Jesus’ crucifixion and the removal of His body from the cross as the preceding verses tell us.
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
David Guzik adds the following comments for context
Customarily, the bodies of crucified criminals were left on their crosses to rot or be eaten by wild animals. But the Jews wanted no such horror displayed during the Passover season, and Romans were known to grant the corpses to friends or relatives for proper burial.
Joseph did not serve Jesus in many ways, but he did serve Him in ways no one else did or could. It was not possible for Peter, James, John, or even the many women who served Jesus to provide a tomb, but Joseph could and did. We must serve God in whatever way we can.
Notice in verse fifty-four above It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin and we gain the following insight from Peter Petts comments
‘The day of the Preparation.’ This would normally be seen as indicating the Friday of Passover week (or more strictly Thursday sunset to Friday sunset), which was always called ‘preparation day’ (in modern Greek paraskeue refers to Friday). (An alternative would be for it to refer to the day of preparation (paraskeue) for the special sabbath which opened the week of Unleavened Bread). However, what the women wanted to do would not be seen as the ‘necessary’ tasks that had to be done in order to bury the dead, for the dead was already buried, and thus the sabbath had to be fully observed.
What is truly interesting is how these women who had followed Jesus from Galilee, witnessed His crucifixion, and burial were now acting in obedience to the command to rest on the Sabbath. They would be the first to discover He was risen when they went to the tomb with the herbs, spices, and perfumes they prepared for His dead and what they thought was His decaying body.
What they did not yet know was that all their preparations were in vain as God was making it needless. This was one body that would not decay and they would be the first to know this. Their belief in Christ likely included His resurrection or return, but they would not know when or how. Nor would they have had the instruction His disciples had in reference to His rising on the third day. I find their love for Jesus, their belief in Him as the Messiah, and their obedience to the command to rest on the Sabbath along with their preparations for His body to be very touching and great examples of faith in action worthy of great admiration.
I hope our actions, our faith in action would also be worthy of admiration.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)