The burial of Jesus

As I read the account of the burial of Jesus I was impressed by the  bravery of Joseph. It was Joseph alone who approached Pilate after all that had happened. According to Jewish custom Jesus body could not remain on the cross overnight, particularly when the next  day was the Sabbath. The Roman custom, on  the other hand, was to let bodies  of crucified criminals hang in view of all until they rotted away. This was to act as a deterent to others. So Joseph goes to Pilate to ask for the body.  Apparently no family members of Jesus nor any of his close friends, the apostles, had the courage to ask for the body of Jesus. It would be a dangerous time show your allegiance to a crucified criminal. Perhaps Pilate felt guilty in the first place after the warning from his wife. But why would he feel guilty over the death of a mere Jew?  Pilate ordered that the body be given to Joseph. The body was laid in Joseph’s own tomb. The entrance was covered with a heavy disc shaped stone that rolled in an inclined channel cut into the rock making the tomb easy to close but difficult to open, thus preventing grave robbers. The Jewish authorities were fearful that Jesus’ disciples may come and steal the body and then proclaim that Jesus had risen from the dead. It is amazing that Jesus continues to threaten the Jews even from the grave. Remember those magician shows where the magician go to all attempts to convince the audience that the allusion is in fact magic and believable. Some escape artists rival Houdini in their ability to free themselves from the impossible. I see a similar situation with the burial of Jesus. The Jews go to extreme efforts to prevent the removal of Jesus’ body. So they ask Pilate to place guards on the tomb to ensure that his disciples themselves could not steal the body and then say that Jesus had risen, as he had said he would.  So the tomb was strongly sealed to ensure the body stayed where is was lain. The Jewish rulers took all precautions to prevent any removal of the body. By going to such extremes they were in fact being used by God to prove the truth of the resurrection. This was like God himself eliminating all other possible explanations other than Jesus really did rise from the dead.

Ross  Bloomfield

 

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