Lessons

Textbox Section

He Was Buried-1

Tagged With: , / World of the Bible

040704PM WOTB-24 He Was Buried

WTB-24

He Was Buried

The great defining passage on the Gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Here, the Gospel is defined as the good news that —

  • “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
  • And that He was buried,
  • and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

 

We are examining these three vital elements of the Gospel. We have seen in the past weeks that there were many amazing, miraculous and profound details that God’s Word records. We can say that Christ DIED for our sins according to the Scriptures.

 

Now we need to examine the Surprising Circumstances of Christ’s Burial

 

CHRIST’S BURIAL IS the 2nd PART OF THE GOSPEL

 

Thus the Gospel involves three main parts the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and further emphasizes his post-resurrection physical appearances in confirmation thereof.

 

We all confess that we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. These two events are basic to Christianity, but why should there be equal emphasis on the burial of Christ? Yes because God knew that one of the fiercest attcks upon Christ’s work would be that He didn’t really “come in the flesh”. Turn with me to 1st John.

 

CHRIST’S BURIAL WAS PHYSICAL: (1st John 4-5)

 

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

 

1 John 5:1-5 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

Christ’s burial was a real physical burial. The Body of Jesus was placed in a physical tomb. Thus His resurrection had to be a physical resurrection with His physical body coming out of the tomb. “The deadly heresy of the gnostics, as of numerous other ancient and modern philosophies, was that the man Jesus and the great “Christ-spirit” were somehow united only in a very superficial way, so that when Jesus died the Christ returned to the Father. Thus, Christ did not really die only Jesus died. Further, Jesus did not really rise only Christ arose!

 

Neither demons nor unbelieving men have been willing to acknowledge that “Jesus is the Christ,” that “Jesus is the Son of God,” and that “Jesus the Christ is come in the flesh” (1 John 5:1; 5:5; 4:3). The Son of God is also Son of Man, with both the divine power and the human nature enabling Him both to represent man and to set man free from the evil one”[1].

 

CHRIST’S BURIAL WAS STRATEGIC: (Matthew 27.62-66)

 

God wanted all men to know beyond any doubt that it was the human Jesus who rose from the grave. God needed Christ’s body to be properly buried after His death. His burial had to be witnessed by both disciples and enemies. Then, on that historic dawning as Jesus rose from the dead, His emptied tomb would stand forever as the infallible witness to His bodily resurrection.

 

Think of how vital Christ’s Body was — God couldn’t allow such a crucial element in His plan as the burial of Christ’s body to be in the hands of the Roman soldiers. They might further defile His body and then toss it down in the garbage dump, with the bodies of other executed criminals. Most likely the Jewish authorities would probably have done even worse. Neither of those authorities would allow Christ’s body to fall into the care of His disciples; they feared that they would seek to hide it, claiming He had been resurrected (Matthew 27:62-66).

 

Matthew 27:62-66 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

 

CHRIST’S BURIAL WAS VERIFIABLE: (Mark 15.44)

 

“The solution was for God to have the body buried by one or more of the authorities themselves who were also disciples. For this purpose, God chose two of the members of the governing Jewish body, the Sanhedrin, Joseph and Nicodemus. Thus, they would have access to the necessary information about the time and circumstances of His death, they would also have access to the Roman governor in order to make the required arrangements to acquire the body before the soldiers could dispose of it, and they would have enough wealth of their own to be able to make the needed preparations for a suitable resting-place for the body until it could be raised from the dead[2]”.

 

CHRIST’S BURIAL WAS ANTICIPATED: (John 7.52)

 

As Nicodemus and Joseph searched the Old Testament, they would find the messianic prophecies and discover that many of them had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Certainly they would see Him as the “Lamb of God” and conclude that He would be sacrificed at Passover. Jesus had already told Nicodemus that He would be “lifted up” (John 3:14), and this meant crucifixion. Since the Passover lambs were slain about 3 p.m., the two men could know almost the exact time when God’s Lamb would die on the cross! Surely they would read Isaiah 53 and notice verse 9—“And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death.” Jesus would be buried in a rich man’s tomb!

 

Luke 23:50-51 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.

 

John 7:50-51 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”

 

Somehow these two men had become friends and had resolved to make preparations for Jesus burial. It seems likely that they may have had other interviews with Jesus, though the Scriptures are silent on this, and perhaps learned from His own lips about His approaching crucifixion. He had, indeed, told Nicodemus that He must be “lifted up,” as Moses had “lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” in order that men might have everlasting life. It hardly seems likely that Nicodemus, Israel’s great teacher, would not try to learn much more about these things, and where better than from Jesus Himself? If nothing else, however, he would surely have gone back to an intensive study of the Messianic Scriptures to learn all he could about the prophesied sacrificial death of the coming Messiah. These earnest studies most likely would have been shared with his friend Joseph.

 

 CHRIST’S BURIAL WAS COSTLY:

 

Joseph gave his treasures to Jesus. Joseph somehow decided himself to assume this prophetic obligation. He proceeded to purchase the land, cut out the tomb, plant a garden, purchase the required materials for the burial and hide them there, and then wait there with Nicodemus until they could perform that service for the Lord for which they had been born.

 

  1. Why, for example, should he, a rich man of Arimathea, buy a burial ground in Jerusalem instead of his own home town?
  2. And, especially, why should he purchase it in such a place as this adjacent to the hill of Golgotha, where day after day there would come the cries of dying criminals and the wails of mourning families?
  3. Furthermore, it was a brand new tomb, not one in which others of the family had been buried (John 19:41), one that Joseph himself had hewn out in the rock (Matthew 27:60), perhaps not wishing others even to know about its preparation. And as Jewish laws went, no one in Joseph’s family could ever be buried in that tomb because Christ was not in their family. So Joseph gave up that tomb and garden permanently to the Lord.

 

Joseph gave his time to Jesus.

  1. He stayed in touch with the events. Strange also was the fact that Joseph knew exactly when Jesus died, and was immediately able to rush to Pilate with the request for His body, before others even realized He was dead (Mark 15:43-44).
  2. He prepared the necessary materials. Even stranger was the fact that immediately thereafter came Nicodemus carrying one hundred Roman pounds (a Roman pound was equivalent to twelve ounces) of ointment for the burial (one does not carry even one hundred Roman pounds very far!).
  3. He publicly followed Jesus. Then, while the women watched from a distance, no doubt in amazement, these two respected members of the Sanhedrin gently lowered the body from the cross, wound it in the linen clothes, applied the spices and ointments, laid the body in the tomb, and then departed.
  4. He paid a high price for his actions. Never, so far as the Biblical record goes, were they ever heard from again, but there can be no doubt that this one act cost them their positions and probably their possessions, and possibly even their lives.
  5. He learned about Jesus. Probably in their studies together during the many months following Nicodemus first meeting with Jesus, the two friends spent much time in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. There especially was the sacrificial and saving work of the Messiah foretold, and this had been the great theme of Jesus words to Nicodemus (John 3:14-21).
  6. He obeyed Jesus. And in the heart of that great passage is the statement: “And He made His grave with the wicked (thus near the execution and burial grounds of the condemned criminals), but (a better translation in this context than “and”) with the rich man (therefore, a rich man must somehow provide a grave for Him even in these unlikely circumstances) in His death” (Isaiah 53:9).

 

 

Why Was Christ’s Side Pierced? (John 19.34)

 

Because the Romans would not permit a crucified man to be taken down before he was dead, the Jewish leaders requested of Pilate that the legs of the three men be broken to insure quick death. In such cases a large wooden mallet was used to shatter the legs of a victim, making it impossible for him to raise himself in order to breathe. Although the added pain would be excruciating, it was short-lived, because death resulted quickly from suffocation.

 

According to the eminent Bible scholar Alfred Edersheim, the soldiers would then administer what was called the death stroke, which consisted of jabbing a spear into the heart (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953], 2:612). The reason for adding the death stroke to the crushing of the legs seems to have been to remove all doubt as to death having occurred.[3]

 

It is remarkable that the Roman soldiers did not do what they were commanded to do—break the victims’ legs—but they did do what they were not supposed to do—pierce the Saviour’s side! In both matters, they fulfilled the very Word of God! The bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken (Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12; and note Ps. 34:20), so our Lord’s bones were protected by the Lord. His side was to be pierced (Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7), so that was done by one of the soldiers.

 

In 1 John 5, John deals with evidence that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh; and he presents three witnesses: the Spirit, the water, and the blood (1 John 5:6, 8). The Spirit relates to Pentecost, the water to His baptism, and the blood to His crucifixion. In each of these events, God made it clear that Jesus Christ is what He claimed to be, God come in the flesh. In fact, in John 19:35, the apostle makes it clear that the water and blood should encourage his readers to believe that Jesus is the Christ (see John 20:31). [4]

 

 

Who Was Joseph Of Arimathea? (John 19.38a)

When you assemble the data available about Joseph of Arimathea, you learn that he was rich (Matt. 27:57), a prominent member of the Jewish council (Mark 15:43), a good and righteous man who had not consented to what the council did (Luke 23:50–51), a member of that “believing minority” of Jews who were praying for Messiah to come (Mark 15:43, and note Luke 2:25–38), and a disciple of Jesus Christ (John 19:38). It was he who asked for the body of Jesus and, with his friend Nicodemus, gave the Savior a decent burial. [5]

 

John informs us that Joseph was a “secret disciple for fear of the Jews.” The Greek word translated “secretly” is a perfect passive participle and could be translated “having been secreted.” In Matthew 13:35, this same verb form is translated “have been kept secret.” In other words, Joseph was God’s “secret agent” in the Sanhedrin! From the human standpoint, Joseph kept “under cover” because he feared the Jews (John 7:13; 9:22; 12:42); but from the divine standpoint, he was being protected so he could be available to bury the body of Jesus. [6]

 

But there are some mysteries about Joseph that perplex us and invite closer investigation. Why did he have a tomb so near to a place of execution? Most pious Jews wanted to be buried in the Holy City, but a rich man like Joseph could certainly afford a better site for his final resting place. Imagine his relatives coming to pay their respects and having to listen to the curses and cries of criminals on crosses not far away! (Note John 19:41.) [7]

 

Matthew, Luke, and John all tell us that the tomb was new and had never been used. It was “his [Joseph’s] own new tomb” (Matt. 27:60); he had hewn it out for himself. Or did he hew it out for Jesus? [8]

 

What Did It Cost Joseph To Bury Jesus? (John 19.38b)

But he took courage and went to Pilate boldly, a description unique to Mark. His action was bold because: (a) he was not related to Jesus; (b) his request was a favor that would likely be denied on principle since Jesus had been executed for treason; (c) he risked ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body; (d) his request amounted to an open confession of personal loyalty to the crucified Jesus which would doubtless incur his associates’ hostility. He was a secret disciple no longer—something Mark impressed on his readers.

 

What Spurred Joseph And Nicodemus To Study? (John 19.39a)

At the critical council meeting recorded in John 7:45–53, Nicodemus boldly stood up and defended the Saviour! His associates ridiculed him for thinking that a prophet could come out of Galilee! “Search, and look!” they said—and that is exactly what Nicodemus did. It is likely that Joseph quietly joined him and revealed the fact that he too was more and more convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed Israel’s Messiah, the Son of God.

 

As Nicodemus and Joseph searched the Old Testament, they would find the messianic prophecies and discover that many of them had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Certainly they would see Him as the “Lamb of God” and conclude that He would be sacrificed at Passover. Jesus had already told Nicodemus that He would be “lifted up” (John 3:14), and this meant crucifixion. Since the Passover lambs were slain about 3 p.m., the two men could know almost the exact time when God’s Lamb would die on the cross! Surely they would read Isaiah 53 and notice verse 9—“And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death.” Jesus would be buried in a rich man’s tomb!

 

We have already met Nicodemus in our study of John 1–12. Note that each time he is named, he is identified as the man who came to Jesus by night (John 3:1ff; 7:50–53). But the man who started off with confusion at night (John 3) ended up with open confession in the daylight! Nicodemus came out of the dark and into the light and, with Joseph, was not ashamed to publicly identify with Jesus Christ. Of course, when the two men touched His dead body, they defiled themselves and could not participate in Passover. But, what difference did it make? They had found the Lamb of God! [9]

 

Why Was Christ Jesus Buried With Myrrh? (John 19.39b) Jesus Was Crushed For Our Sins

Smyrna is a very interesting word because the Greek word smuma is translated “myrrh”.  It is a substance taken from a thorny tree and was the chief product of this city, the seaport of Myrrh.

  • At Christ’s Birth myrrh speaks of Christ who SUFFERED POVERTY FOR US = HIS SERVANTHOOD. In Matt. 2:11, wise men came from the East and brought Christ gold, frankincense and myrrh. He was born to a poor couple, lived in borrow homes, was raised in exile in Egypt – all to come as a servant.
  • At Christ’s Crucifixion HE SUFFERED PAIN FOR US = HIS SUFFERING. According to Mark 15:23, while Christ hung on the cross, He was offered wine mixed with myrrh.  It served as an anesthetic.  His crucifiers were trying to dull His senses so the pain wouldn’t be so bad.
  • At Christ’s Burial HIS SUFFERING PAID FOR US = OUR SALVATION.  According to John 19:39…a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight, was used to   prepare the body of Jesus Christ for burial after He had died. Our Lord, after His death was embalmed with myrrh (John 19:39).  Myrrh was a fragrant gum that exuded from Arabian trees. The tree is hacked, cut and beaten. Myrrh then exudes from the wounds!  So our eternal healing flowed from His wounds as He suffered, bled and died for us!

 

What Did God Want Joseph To Do? (John 19.40)

When the soldiers were through with their gruesome work, our Lord’s friends took over; and from that point on, as far as the record is concerned, no unbelievers touched the body of Jesus. God had prepared two high-ranking men to prepare His body for burial and to place it in a proper tomb. Had Joseph and Nicodemus not been there, it is likely that the body of Jesus would have been “carried off to some obscure and accursed ditch,” as James Stalker states in his classic The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ. If the friends of any victims appeared, the Romans were only too happy to give them the bodies and get them off their hands. It was important that His body be prepared for burial so that the empty graveclothes could be left behind in the tomb (John 20:1–10). Also, the way He was buried fulfilled prophecy (Isa. 53:9). The fact that He was buried is proof that Jesus actually died on the cross, for the Roman officials would not have released the body without proof that Jesus was dead. [10]

 

How Did Joseph Prepare? (John 19.41a)

Joseph arranged to have the tomb hewn out, and the men assembled the cloths and spices needed for the burial. They may have been hiding in the tomb all during the six hours of our Lord’s agony on the cross. When they heard, “It is finished! Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit!” they knew that He was dead; and they went to work. They boldly identified with Jesus Christ at a time when He seemed like a failure and His cause hopelessly defeated. As far as we know, of all the disciples, only John was with them at the cross[11].

It seems evident that Joseph and Nicodemus carefully planned their activities at Calvary. They certainly could not secure a tomb at the last minute, nor would they be able to purchase sixty-five pounds of costly spices so quickly during the Passover when many merchants would not be doing business. No sooner had Jesus died than Joseph went to Pilate and received permission to take the body. Nicodemus stayed at the cross to make sure nothing happened to his Lord’s body. The two men might even have been waiting in the new tomb, with the spices and wrappings, ready for the moment when the Saviour would lay down His life[12].

 

Why  A New Tomb Of Joseph’s? (John 19.41b)

 

Isaiah 53 is the Old Testament’s most beautiful and detailed prediction of the Messiah’s suffering and death. Included in that prediction is the statement that “His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death” (v. 9). That obscure prophecy would have been impossible to comprehend fully until the Messiah’s burial actually took place. We now understand that the Holy Spirit was revealing that, although Christ’s enemies intended to bury Him with common criminals, God’s plan was that He be buried not with the wicked but in the tomb of a wealthy man, who, by inference, was godly[13].

 

The second prophecy fulfilled in Jesus’ burial was His own declaration that “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40; cf. 16:21; 26:61)[14].

 

[1]  Quoted from Henry Morris, Creation Trilogy CD appendix on Christ.

[2]  Quoted from Henry Morris, Creation Trilogy CD appendix on Christ.

[3]  John MacArthur, Matthew.

[4]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[5]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[6]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[7]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[8]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[9]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[10]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[11]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New  cost Joseph Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[12]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

  1. verse

[13]McGee, J. V. 1997, c1981. Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.). Thomas Nelson: Nashville

  1. confer (Lat.), compare

[14]McGee, J. V. 1997, c1981. Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.). Thomas Nelson: Nashville

 
 
Scroll Up