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Buried: A Secret Message
A man who died received a telephone bill from Sprint at his new address -- the Hillside Cemetery in Auburn, Mass. "Our clients here don’t usually get mail," said superintendent Wayne Bloomquist. "I wondered if maybe we should start putting mailboxes on the monuments."
The phone bill included a small data charge incurred while roaming. MUAHAHAHA!
I get to know a lot of funeral directors. There are many good jokes surrounding that profession...you'd have to have a sense of humor. I appreciate these guys, because over all the years I have known them, they have never let me down!
We tend to joke about such matters because, deep down, humans fear dying – and hate saying goodbye to those we love. The good news is that for believers, Christ has removed the sting of death through the Gospel. Death was irreversible ... that is, until Jesus Christ reversed it!
In I Cor. 15, Paul defines the Gospel of the grace of God in three points:
3 ... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
There is a lot of teaching about how and why Christ died in Scripture. There is a good amount of teaching about the Resurrection. But the burial of Christ occupies a lesser space. Even so, keep in mind that it is one third of the Gospel! Although the Bible is not as vocal about the burial of Christ, there is more to it than we might think.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
His burial in the ground confirmed His death, and fits the picture of the Passover sacrifice.
And time was of the essence, for there was pressure to remove the bodies from the crosses by nightfall.
22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)
It was Passover, and Jesus died at 3 PM. His body had to be removed before 6 PM. And anyone who touched a dead body after that point was considered unclean and unable to partake of Passover.
[read vv. 30-36]
They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
--explain why they would break the bones [suffocation/asphyxiation]
v. 37 'pierced'
Remember that it was from Adam's side that God gave him his bride. And so it was from the side of the last Adam, Jesus, that the Bride of Christ was born from the fountain of His life's blood!
--Passover also initiated the week long feast of Unleavened Bread, in the Midst of which was the Feast of First Fruits (Easter)
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Jewish tradition said that a body became corrupt after the third day! [Lazarus!] Leaven is a picture of that corruption...thus the feast!
Now, consider what an honorable burial Jesus received, even though He was executed as a criminal.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Most people were buried in the ground, or in an ossuary…
Certainly Jesus could have risen from the ground, but you can see why the tomb was a more fitting scenario for the resurrection.
Now some secret messengers are unearthed!
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were both members of the ruling council, the Sanhedrin…but they were 'secret disciples' of a sort.
If there is any passage of Scripture that should bring about righteous indignation for a follower of Christ, it is the recorded actions of the Sanhedrin just prior to the crucifixion of Jesus. Here we find this elite religious council of seventy looking for false evidence against Jesus to put Him to death. This council went to extremes to humiliate Jesus when they spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. (Matthew 26:59,67)
The council spearheading this awful activity would seem the least likely place to find believers in Jesus. Not only do we find two extraordinary disciples of Jesus among this infamous council, but we find them at the forefront during the most critical three-day juncture of human history!