Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, March 30, 2015
Burying Jesus – Part 1 of 2
Many people possess great knowledge of Jesus’s crucifixion, but could you explain to someone the details of His burial? In the sequence of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, His burial is often marginalized and seems to be the least dramatic of the three events. This this event, however, teaches us important lessons about our LORD and those who would serve Him.
In a time when His infamy hit an apex, it was only through God’s will and the kindness of His friends that He was buried in a decent grave, with prophesy fulfilled. His precious soul had departed to Paradise, but an Earthly obligation remained – His body needed a proper grave chamber so He could mirror Jonah and fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah (Matthew 12:39-40).
For His enemies, Jesus was buried to make His death more certain. Pontius Pilate would not allow Jesus to be buried until he was convinced Jesus was really dead. While the witnesses to His crucifixion remained unburied and alive, a few of them remained hopeful Jesus was still alive (Revelation 11:8-12). Ironically, just as Jesus’ waiting to raising Lazarus from the dead served to magnify the miracle, Pilate’s delay only served to emphasize the miracle of His glorious resurrection.
As the Great Witness, Christ is the one who is free among the dead. He was buried so the terror of the grave might be pried off our souls and made easier for us. The grave is a noxious and unpleasant odor to the living, yet for those who believe in Him, He has made the grave warm and fragrant, knowing we will be buried with Him in Paradise.
Jesus was buried in the evening, the same evening He died. He was buried before sunset as was the usual custom of the day when burying evildoers or outlaws. His burial was not delayed until the next day because it was the Sabbath, when work, much less the handling of dead bodies, was strictly forbidden by Jewish law. The Sabbath was set apart for rest and rejoicing, neither of which applies to burying the dead.
His burial arrangements were left to Joseph of Arimathea. The disciples had all fled in fear of reprisal from the authorities, both Roman and Jewish, and not a single one of them appeared to pay this respect to their Master. They had been faithful to bury properly John the Baptist after his beheading (Matthew 14:12), yet they abandoned their Master Jesus. The women who followed Him dared not to participate, but God raised up a good man to do it. When God has work to do, He will find a way to accomplish it.
Fresh from hanging on the cursed and infamous tree, God entrusted Jesus’ body to the hands of Joseph of Arimathea, who tenderly took and dressed Him in grave clothes (Acts 13:29). Joseph’s actions did not seem normal to the world, but it presents an eternal message to us all – where there is a true love of Christ, no service will be thought to lowly, odd, or inconveniently timed to stoop for Him. Joseph’s common act of humanity is a reminder how we should treat Jesus Christ and those He loves (Matthew 25:35-40).
When he had finished preparing our LORD’s body, Joseph placed it in the sepulcher (Matthew 27:60). There was no pomp or grandeur to accompany this solemn action, yet a private funeral befit the One who’s Kingdom was hidden from observation. Jesus came into the world in humility and obscurity and lived a life of humble obedience. His exit to the grave came under similar circumstances.
He was laid in a borrowed tomb, what was most likely to have been Joseph’s own resting place. Jesus had not a house of His own wherein He could lay His head while He lived (Matthew 8:20); likewise, He had no grave of His own wherein to lay His body when He was dead.
It is normal to attend to the needs of our Savior (Philippians 2:21), no matter what the appearances or circumstances. Jesus had become a pariah in life and in death, yet God lifted up servants to defy the world that rejected Him. Those who truly love Jesus are willing to demonstrate their devotion no matter what the circumstances (Philippians 2:21). What will you do today to demonstrate your love for Him?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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