THE BURIAL OF JESUS

Scripture Reading:  John 19:38-42

“So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.  Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.  So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.”  (John 19:40-42)

After Jesus’ death, two unlikely people showed up to claim His body — Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.  Joseph was a wealthy member of the Jewish council (Matthew 27:57).  Nicodemus was also a ruler of the Jews, one of the Pharisees (John 3:1). Both men had been “secret” followers of Jesus.  But now at Jesus’ death, these two men became bold and claimed the body of Jesus.  They did the initial preparation of the body for burial and laid it in the new tomb.  This was a fulfillment of another Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah:  “They made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in His death” (Isaiah 53:9).

The burial of Jesus was proof that He truly died.  Jesus’ death was an absolute necessity because His death meant that God’s justice had been satisfied and our sins had been paid for in full.  Jesus’ death made atonement for our sins because our sins and liabilities were transferred to Him and He died as the Sacrifice, so that our sins would be covered, our guilt removed, and God’s justice was satisfied.  As a result of Jesus’ work, we now have been reconciled to God.  We are now eternally secure because “Jesus paid it all.”

Isaac Watts sums up the response we should have to the finished work of Jesus:

“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God; all the vain things that charm me most — I sacrifice them to His blood.”

Lord Jesus, I have nothing to boast.  You fully accomplished salvation for me.  You were crucified, dead, and buried on my behalf.  May I join Paul in declaring:  “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31).  Lord, I give myself to You and desire to honor You with my soul, my life and my all.

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