“So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it up in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid.”
“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”
Have you ever wondered why the Gospel writers go to such lengths to include the thought of the burial of Jesus in their accounts? It would seem to be self evident that if Jesus died, that He also was buried. The Roman custom with crucifixion seems to have been that the bodies would be left on the crosses for several days as a warning to others, and then they would be taken down and thrown unceremoniously into a mass grave. That is not what happened with Jesus. The writers of the books of the New Testament seem to go out of their way to tell us what happened here. They have a very specific reason for doing so. The Apostle Paul also gives us this teaching in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the twelve.” In the series of statements that Paul gives as a summary of the important points of the Gospel’s fulfillment of the promise of the Scriptures the Apostle Paul includes “He was buried.” The Gospel writers all emphasize it as being of importance.
One reason for this focus is that the Gospel writers want us to continue to explore the evidence for the resurrection. If they had not emphasized the evidence of the burial of the lord Jesus Christ there would have been no conclusive proof of His resurrection. How would we prove the empty tomb if Jesus had been buried with the other condemned in a mass grave? If there had been no witnesses, like Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and the women who had followed Jesus ever since the beginning of His ministry there would have been no way to discover what had happened to His body.
The Gospel writers however tell us that this evidence is available to us because there were witnesses and Joseph did bury Jesus in his own garden tomb. On the first day of the week when the women went to the tomb that they had seen Jesus buried in they found the stone rolled away and the tomb was empty. What condensation of God to our need for evidence. He supplied all that we need right here.
There is another reason given here as well, and it is of great importance. The Gospel writers include this account to tell us something else as well. It is this that Paul focuses upon in his account. Even the burial of the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled Scripture. Isaiah 53:9 tells us that the plan would be to bury Him with the wicked, but the reality would be that he would be buried with the rich. That is exactly what happened in the providence of God. Over the past few months I have been engaged in an intense study of the Gospels. What I have been discovering is faith stretching because it lets us know that there is far more buried in this tiny gospel than I could ever have imagined. I feel as if I am just scratching the surface here. That is an incentive for a growing commitment to Bible Study by each of us. There are treasures to be found here.