Hope in Jesus’ Burial
Written by: Hannah Springer
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Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new
tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the
entrance to the tomb and went away.
- Matthew 27:59-60 NIV
Burying the dead is an interesting concept when we take a step back and examine this odd, yet common, human practice. When I was 12, I watched my great-grandpa, in a beautiful, large casket, be placed gently, methodically, and carefully deep within the ground. The dirt was poured, the trumpets sounded, and many tears fell as we watched him be laid in the Earth’s soil. While I had sadness and confusion in my heart about the concept of death, the burial made his death seem final. According to Science Focus, humans have been burying the dead for more than 130,000 years; burying the dead was one of the first religious practices people created. What happens after death matters innately to our souls and minds. We desire closure, consistency, and control over the even when it comes to the uncertainty of what happens after death.
Jesus’ life was perfect. He was an evangelist, healer, preacher, friend, leader, guide, and example. His life was not the finale, though, it was His death and resurrection that completed the atonement of our sins. 740 years before Jesus walked on this Earth, it was prophetically written in Scripture, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9). His death and burial was always part of the plan to complete the righteous transaction on behalf of human sins.
The grave finalized the eternal, justified, true, good, and righteous victory over death by Jesus Christ. Jesus had all authority on Heaven and Earth to rise to Heaven from the cross, abandoning the dark, quiet, and desperate three days of waiting. Yet, it was the rolling of the stone and laying of the linen that completed Jesus’ victory. The darkness was defeated by Jesus faithfully reaching into the worst, deepest, most broken place from the result of sin.
What does this mean for our hope? Hope is a deep trust, a place of peace, a retreat from the fears and confusion of this world. As fallen humans, our eyes are easily tempted at the hope the world promises through economic security, relationship status, and outward beauty. Godly hope is our inspiration to endure hard times (1 Thessalonians 1:3), it is our inheritance as children of God (Ephesians 1:18), and this hope is our strength (Isaiah 40:31). Jesus’ burial marks the end, the end of fear, death, and darkness that so easily reign in our hearts and minds. He closed the door on death, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” (Ephesians 5:8). Jesus’ burial leaves us with no question that He is victorious! Live within the inheritance promised for you, won for you in the grave. This is our hope, sisters.
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