John 19:38-42 - Dead & Buried
You can find immense comfort in the fact that Jesus' dead body was buried.
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Read John 19:38-42
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 41
Q. Why was he “buried”?
A. His burial testifies
that he really died.
Following the crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea was granted permission by Pilate to take the body of Jesus so that he may be put to rest. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, provided the myrrh and aloes that would be used as part of the burial process.
This amount of burial spices, 75 lbs of myrrh and aloes, far exceeded the typical amount used for the burial custom. Using this many burial spices would have been considered a showing of respect towards Jesus; one that came at a very high price, since these ingredients were very expensive.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took great personal risk in ensuring Jesus received a proper burial. And while their actions are commendable, the most important aspect of this passage was not their bravery, but the fact that Jesus indeed had died and was buried. Jesus' body created from dust seemed like it was well on the way to becoming dust again.
The miracle of the resurrection is that Jesus, who had died and was buried, became alive again. The logical order of events dictates that indeed, if Jesus was going to rise from the dead, that He first be dead.
This simple act of the burial of Jesus plays an important part in the Biblical accounts of the resurrection. This importance can be seen in how the burial account is included in all four of the Gospels.
The reality of Jesus’ death and burial can also be seen in the chief priests’ response to the burial. Fearing that the disciples might try to steal away Jesus’ body, they asked Pilate to lend them soldiers to secure and guard the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). Certainly, part of securing the tomb was to ensure that Jesus’ deceased body remained inside.
Between the witnesses of Jesus’ death on the cross, those who prepared his body for burial, and those who secured his body in the tomb; there are more than enough witnesses to verify that Jesus really had died. Because Jesus had died and was buried, we rejoice in the miracle that on the third day he rose again from the dead.
Today's catechism question, emphasizing the fact that Jesus was indeed buried, seems out of place in a year long study of what your only comfort in life and in death is. But this little question, with its seemingly simplistic answer - that Jesus' burial indicates that He was in fact actually dead - will give you immense comfort the next time you're looking at the casket of a loved one that's about to be lowered into the ground.
Just as Jesus' lifeless body was made to live again after it had already been sealed in a tomb, so too will that loved one whose faith was in the resurrected Savior rise from the grave when Christ returns.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who seemed so distant and far away from Joseph and Nicodemus as they placed Jesus' body in the ground;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Both Joseph & Nicodemus had followed Jesus in secret. Pray that you will have the courage to follow Christ in a way that's visible to all.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 9