The burial of Jesus, Part III
We’ve been studying significant things about the burial of Jesus that confirm the certainty of a resurrected Lord.

According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Apostle Paul affirmed that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ constitute the heart of the Gospel. We looked at the tender way in which His body was prepared for the burial, the gift of a burial site by a wealthy Jew who had not approved of the Sanhedrin’s decision to kill Jesus. According to Matthew 27:57 and Luke 23:51 we learn each of these facts plus that this man, Joseph of Arimathaea was also a member of the council, the Sanhedrin.
Next we note the Jews’ reaction which also certifies the subsequent resurrection of our Lord - Matt. 27:62-66. Joseph of Arimathaea requested the body of Jesus for burial. Pilate was surprised to hear Jesus was already dead. He sent for the centurion in charge of the execution. His question was simple, “was Jesus dead?” (Mark 15:44-45). Pilate would not release the body until he knew, for sure, that there was no chance that Jesus was simply unconscious. He was not having an executed man released while still alive. When he found that Jesus was, in fact, dead, he released the body for burial.
It’s noteworthy to mention here that the faithful band of followers of Jesus were at this point in disarray. Though he had prepared them for this moment with careful predictions of his death, burial AND resurrection, all they had was tunnel vision on this eventful day. Mat. 26:31 “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”
It’s a fine commentary on their failure to understand the Lord’s true mission when we note that the Jewish authorities took his claims of resurrection more seriously than did the twelve. Thus, the Jews took special measure to avoid a trick that would appear to produce a resurrected body (Matt. 27:62-66). The Jewish leaders had heard of Christ’s promise to arise from the dead. They insisted that the tomb be guarded and made as secure as possible. No one would/could come to steal the body claiming Jesus had risen. They made sure of that.
Christ had made a clear promise. He foretold his death on the cross. But he went beyond the cross in his declaration of his purpose and work. He had said that he would arise again on the third day. This was the prophecy which worried the religious leaders. It was this prophecy that led them to have the guard placed at his tomb. They wanted to be sure Jesus would stay where they had put him. They wanted him to stay in the tomb. It was their great care in this matter that certifies for history that Jesus really was dead and buried, thus resurrection faith is not based on deception.
The live person of Jesus seen in Jerusalem by numerous witnesses later were not merely a revived Jesus who had been swooning. The Romans and Jews together certified there was a corpse in that tomb. Thus, a resurrected Lord is a reality!

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