The next in the series of Easter Meditations:
Reading: Mark 15 v 42 – 47
The burial of Jesus is not just an incidental add – on to the main story. In fact, the Apostle Paul maintains it is a vital part of the Gospel see 1 Corinthians 15 v 3 – 5. So why is it so important? After all, he had died, is it not then simply natural that he should be buried.
Well, yes, but… this proved that Jesus really did die. He did not fall into some deep sleep or coma. In fact, we see that Pilate even went as far as to check whether he really was dead. The Centurion on duty confirmed that – he would know as well as anyone else whether someone was dead, he had seen enough of them in his time. Actually, Jesus was dead sooner than expected – those who were crucified would often linger in the last throes of death. If someone was trying to pretend that Jesus had died when he had not, they would wait longer to make it sound more credible.
No, Jesus had really died and therefore needed to be buried. Here we see the faith of Joseph of Arimathea. He was one of the religious leaders, but unlike the others he truly recognised who Jesus was. Therefore he wanted to give him a proper burial. That would have made him unpopular with the others on the council who would have felt that Jesus did not deserve this. However, this man had understood something of the Kingdom of God that Jesus had been teaching and in response carried out this act of kindness.
In John’s account we read that he was joined by Nichodemus, another religious leader who had met with Jesus and his life too had been changed. The two of them took the body of Jesus and put it into a tomb and sealed the entrance with a big stone. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw this happening. They would become significant in the next part of the story, which continues tomorrow…
As far as we are concerned, we need to take on board that Jesus really did die. Therefore he was buried. And as he really was dead he took on himself the punishment for our sins. If he did not really die, then that would not be possible. Sacrifices had to be dead not nearly dead. If we believe that, then our response should be the same as that of Joseph and Nichodemus that we will want to do what we can for him in acts of love and kindness.
Low in the grave he lay,
Jesus, my Saviour.
Waiting the coming day
Jesus, my Lord! (the rest to follow tomorrow!)