In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 1 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 At the Burial of Jesus the Christ Introduction 1. After doing studies about this topic, I have realized that there is not a lot of preaching about the Burial of Christ. 2. Preachers emphasize the Death and the Resurrection of Christ, but what about the Burial? 3. This is part of the gospel of Christ ALSO!!! a. 1 Corinthians 15:1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 4. Brethren, we MUST teach and preach on this subject to preach the WHOLE council of God Almighty!!! Body I. The History Records a. Burial History i. Jewish Burials 1. The Hebrew custom for providing a burial place for the dead is first introduced in scripture with Abraham’s purchasing of a cave in the land of Canaan for the burial of Sarah (Gen 23:1ff). 2. The custom of the Jews was that any sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin was “not to be buried in the sepulchers of their fathers; but two burying places were appointed by the council, one for those who were slain by the sword and strangled, the other for those that were stoned who also were hanged and burnt.” Lightfoot 3. The purpose of Burial1 a. The first reason for providing proper burial was for the sake of the dead themselves. i. The great importance of proper burial provides the backdrop for the passages that speak of those who will not be buried, usually because of sin and divine judgment. ii. Jeremiah warns his own generation with the same disturbing imagery: “And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth; and none will frighten them away . . . and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be as dung on the surface of the ground” (Jer 7:33; 8:2; cf. 14:16; 16:4; 20:6; 22:19; 25:33;…) iii. Josephus’ perspective is consistent with that expressed in Tobit. Explaining Jewish ethical obligations, Josephus states: “We must furnish fire, water, food to all who ask for them, point out the road, not leave a corpse unburied [a1tafon], show consideration even to 1 Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus – Craig A. Evans In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 2 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 declared enemies” (Against Apion 2.29 §211; cf. 2.26 §205). b. A second reason for burying the dead is to avoid defilement of the land of Israel. i. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 "If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 "his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God. ii. Numbers 35:34 'Therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.'" c. What is important here is that even in the case of the executed criminal, proper burial was anticipated. Various restrictions may have applied, such as being forbidden burial in one’s family tomb—at least until the flesh had decomposed—or not being allowed to mourn publicly, but burial was to take place, in keeping with the scriptural command of Deut 21:22–23 and the Jewish customs that had grown up alongside it. d. The commands of Scripture, taken with traditions regarding piety (as especially exemplified in Tobit), corpse impurity, and the avoidance of the defilement of the land, strongly suggest that under normal circumstances (i.e., peacetime) no corpse would remain unburied—neither Jew nor Gentile, neither innocent nor guilty. All were to be buried. e. Josephus States: “Jews are so careful about funeral rites that even malefactors who have been sentenced to crucifixion are taken down and buried before sunset.” ii. Roman Burials 1. The Burial customs for the Romans were to leave the bodies of those who have been charged to be crucified to decay and to feed the birds.2 2. One also noted, “For Pilate to release the body of a condemned criminal – especially one condemned of high treason – to someone other than a relative was highly unusual.” Wessel3 3. Peacetime Administration4 a. Peacetime administration in Palestine appears to have respected Jewish burial sensitivities. b. A generation later Josephus asserts the same thing. The Romans, he says, do not require “their subjects to violate their national laws” (Contra Apionem 2.6 §73). Josephus adds that the Roman procurators who succeeded Agrippa I “by abstaining 2 Wayne Jackson – “The Burial of Christ’s Body” 3 Ibid 4 Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus – Craig A. Evans In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 3 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 from all interference with the customs of the country kept the nation at peace” (J.W. 2.11.6 §220). 4. We find in the summary of Roman law (a.k.a. Digesta) the following concessions:5 a. The bodies of those who are condemned to death should not be refused their relatives; and the Divine Augustus, in the Tenth Book of his Life, said that this rule had been observed. At present, the bodies of those who have been punished are only buried when this has been requested and permission granted; and sometimes it is not permitted, especially where persons have been convicted of high treason. (48.24.1) The bodies of persons who have been punished should be given to whoever requests them for the purpose of burial. (48.24.3) iii. Jesus was crucified by Roman Authorities at the behest of rebellious Jews! b. Burial mixes i. Embalming6 1. That term is nowhere used with reference to the preparation of the Lord’s body. Certainly it was not an “embalming” analogous to what the Egyptians practiced, where there was a mutilation of the remains (see Morris, 496, 730). Among the Jews there was an anointing with spices, when such could be afforded, to retard the stench of decomposition (cf. John 11:39; see Borchert, 282). II. The Biblical Examination a. The Biblical Passages i. Matthew 27:57-66 ii. Mark 15:42-47 iii. Luke 23:50-56 iv. John 19:38-42 b. People Present i. Joseph 1. Who was this man? a. He was a rich man (Mt. 27:57) b. He was a disciple of Christ. (Mt. 27:57) c. He was a prominent council member (Mark 15:43) d. He was one who waited for the Kingdom of God (Mark 15:43) e. He was a man of Courage (Mark 15:43) f. He was a Good man (Luke 23:50) g. He was a Just man (Luke 23:50) h. He did not vote to Kill Jesus with the multitude (Luke 23:50) i. Implying that Joseph was of the Sanhedrin! i. He was from Arimathea (Luke 23:51) j. He was a secret Disciple of Jesus (John 19:38) 2. What did he do? a. He took the body (Mt. 27:59) b. He wrapped the body in a clean linen cloth (Mt. 27:59) 5 Ibid 6 Wayne Jackson – “The Burial of Christ’s Body” In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 4 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 c. He laid the body in his new tomb (Mt. 27:60) d. He rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb (Mt. 27:60) e. He Departed (Mt. 27:60) 3. Something to realize about Joseph a. Bob Winton: i. The importance of what he did here is shown by the fact that all four gospel accounts record his hand in burying the Lord's body. "In times of distress and danger, God has frequently raised up a Joseph. When Israel was threatened with famine, when Herod would have slain the infant Christ, and then again when the helpless body of our Lord was upon the cross, there stepped forth upon the stage JOSEPH. The awful storm was at the full, the enemies glorying in their triumph, supposing Christ was out of the way forever; but in that hour came Joseph!" (Coffman, p.501). The name Joseph means "adding" (Gen. 30:24, mg.). 4. What Joseph did fulfilled prophecy! a. Bob Winton: i. "In the common version, the word 'rich' in Isaiah's prophecy (53:9) would appear as either singular or plural, but it is in reality singular, as evidenced by the more accurate translation in the RV..." (Coffman, p.500). Thus, the prophecy was fulfilled in Joseph burying the Lord's body in his own unused tomb. 5. In the actions of Joseph a. Joseph PREVIEWED the body of Christ on the Cross! b. Joseph PROVIDED the place for the body of Christ! c. Joseph PROTECTED the body of Christ! ii. Mary – the mother of Jesus 1. She sat opposite of the tomb (Mt. 27:61) 2. She prepared spices and fragrant oils (Luke 23:56) iii. Mary Magdalene 1. She sat with the other Mary opposite of the tomb (Mt. 27:61) 2. She prepared spices and fragrant oils (Luke 23:56) iv. Nicodemus 1. He brought a mixture of 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes (John 19:39) 2. He helped bind the body of Jesus with the linen and with spices (John 19:40) c. The Preparation of the Body i. They wrapped the body in a clean linen cloth (Mt. 27:59) ii. This cloth was not just a normal linen cloth, but was fine linen (Mark 15:46) iii. They prepared spices and fragrant oils for the body (Luke 23:56) iv. Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of mixture of myrrh and aloes for the wrapping of the body (John 19:39-40) d. The Location and condition of the Tomb i. The location of the Tomb was 5 miles north of the city of Jerusalem. In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 5 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 ii. The condition of the tomb 1. Luke 23:53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 2. John 19:41 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. a. This was a new tomb! b. The reason for the tomb needing to be new was for the reason of not resurrecting a previous body in that tomb! i. 2 Kings 13:21 So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. 1. If a great Prophet’s dead body touches another one’s bones, that person revived!!! a. Therefore they did this to make sure that Jesus’ body did not touch that of a great one’s body and be revived. e. What they did with the tomb i. They rolled the stone upon the opening (Mt. 27:60) 1. In doing this, Joseph was protecting the body of Christ from those who despised Him. f. The Statements and Actions of Pilate and Pharisees i. On Saturday, the Sabbath, the Chief Priests and Pharisees come to Pilate to discuss a matter (Mt. 27:62-66) 1. They bring to his attention, that Jesus said that He would raise the 3rd day. (Mt. 27:63) a. When did Jesus say this? i. Matthew 16:21 ¶ From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. ii. Matthew 17:23 "and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up." And they were exceedingly sorrowful. iii. Matthew 20:19 "and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again." iv. John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 1. Same accusation at the Jewish Trial a. Mt 26:61 and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'" In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 6 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 2. They understood at that time, that Jesus was talking about His body and not the Actual Temple! b. Bob Winton States: i. They did not believe he would be resurrected, but they did not want anyone later to claim he had been raised. The best way to prevent this would be to insure that his body remained where it was buried. But their precautions only served to furnish undeniable proof that he was resurrected. They feared the resurrection, but by their actions here they made belief in the resurrection even more believable. 2. They wanted to make sure that the Disciples did not have the chance of stealing the body to get people to believe that He rose from the dead, so they COMMAND Pilate to secure the tomb (Mt. 27:64). a. They stated that if they were to do this, it would be worse than the first deception (Mt. 27:64) 3. Pilate gives them a guard and tells them to “Go and make it as secure as you know how.” (Mt. 27:65) 4. The Chief Priests and the Pharisees go and sealed the tomb and set the guard at the tomb to keep watch (Mt. 27:66) III. What is the Significance of the Burial and the Contents? a. The Body of Jesus i. Bob Winton States: 1. That his body was in the tomb for the three days, under the Roman seal and guard, proves that no one stole the body; it also proves that the Lord was truly dead, not merely in some kind of coma. Many today foolishly deny that he was dead, claiming he had merely swooned, and later slipped from the tomb after he had revived. The fact that he was in the grave three days, after undergoing all the terrible things during his last day, precludes the notion that he was not dead! b. The Actions of Joseph i. Touching of the Body 1. By touching the dead body of Jesus, This would have caused Joseph to be unclean for 7 days! 2. This would then mean that he would not be able to take part in the Jewish proceedings! 3. He SACRIFICED taking part in the Jewish proceedings to take care of the Savior! a. Are we willing to SACRIFICE ourselves to do the will of the Father? ii. Showed Affection to the Savior and to Mary! 1. He showed affection by provided his tomb to place the body of Christ. a. He showed AFFECTION, are we? iii. Risking disfavor and discipline from the Sanhedrin 1. Through Joseph taking the body of Christ and protecting it, he risked severe disfavor and discipline from the Sanhedrin. In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 7 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 a. Would we ourselves do the things that could cause disfavor and maybe even discipline from others for doing what we know we need to do? c. The Stone i. Bob Winton States: 1. The great stone with which the tomb was closed is important to the story. The Greek text describes this stone by the words lithon megan (Matt. 27:60) which is the source of our English word "megalith" (a huge stone). Several women knew they could not move it, thus no beaten, crucified man who had been severely wounded in the side by a spear could do so. The stones used to close ancient tombs usually were set in a sloping groove, a runway, with the lowest point being in front of the tomb entrance. It would require far more strength to remove the stone than to roll it into place. The stone was round with the front and back being flat, like a great stone wheel. When it was moved, it was not merely pushed a little to the side so that Jesus could squeeze through, but was moved completely away from the tomb opening (John 20:1). Matthew reports that the tomb had been hewn out of THE rock—thus it was hewn from solid rock. d. The Mixtures of oils and myrrh. i. The Mixtures of oils, myrrh, and aloes were used for the embalming processes back then. ii. It was used to preserve the bodies of the dead and not cause the body to stink. iii. Wayne Jackson States: 1. Here is an important observation. The fact that the friends of Christ provided spices, and anointed his body for burial, clearly reveals that they had not grasped the significance of Psalm 16:10, namely that his flesh would not experience “corruption” (cf. Acts 2:25-28) because he would be raised. What is the importance of this point? 2. After Jesus’ death, the disciples did not concoct some outlandish plan to steal the body and proclaim that he had been resurrected! They did not anticipate the resurrection. They fully expected the corpse to decay and return to the dust. It was only seeing him on that Sunday following his death (and subsequently for 40 days) that generated their faith in a “risen Lord.” This is extremely powerful circumstantial evidence of the genuine resurrection of the Savior’s body. IV. How does all of this relate to us? a. CHRISTIANITY IS BASED UPON A BURIED AND RESURRECTED LORD!!! b. We also must DIE! i. Physically 1. It does not matter if you are the Son of God or just mere man, Death is common for everyone! a. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, ii. Spiritually 1. You must die to sins in order to bring about that New Man! In the Agony Series - At the Burial of Jesus the Christ 8 Wes Garland 7/25/2010 a. Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,… b. Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 2. We must make sure that the Old Man does not come back, because it is possible! a. 2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. c. This shows the separation of Soul and Body! i. If you noticed how they spoke of Christ during the burial, they said that this was the BODY of Christ! ii. They did not say that this WAS Christ, but only the BODY of Christ. iii. The Bible teaches that when man dies, the body goes back to the ground, the soul goes to Hades, and the spirit returns unto God who gave it! 1. Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. 2. Acts 2:31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. d. This is the Gospel in which we PREACH! i. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, e. This Gospel is what brought forth that form of Doctrine that Saves mankind! i. Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. f. This Form of Doctrine is what frees a man from the bondage of SIN! i. Romans 6:18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Conclusion 1. Have you obeyed this form of Doctrine? 2. If not, you are still under the grasp and bondage of sin! 3. Don’t you want to be set FREE from the bondage of sin? 4. Obey Today!!!
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