Today we are going to look at the burial of Jesus in Mark 15:42-47:
42 When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45 When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.
We see here in this passage Jesus’ burial. Lots of things that were common in the culture and that set the tone for the resurrection are here, that we may not see at first.
First, notice the layers this passage jumps through to prove that Jesus was actually dead. Pilate had to sign off. The centurion told Pilate that He was dead. This text establishes for everyone to see that Jesus was actually dead. We even see Pilate wondering, was Jesus really dead. And the text answers, yes. Yes he was.
So, what happens next is even more amazing. Mark wanted you to know that yes, Jesus had died.
We see as well Joseph taking Jesus body and burying it in him tomb. This is one of those things as Westerners we don’t really get, a tomb in that tradition would have been a cave. But within that cave, there would have been different sections where the body would have been laid in preparation for final burial.
If you have a minute, take a look this video, it’s from our recent trip to the Holy Land, and my friend Mackey Yokum explains more about what this process would have looked like.
But to me, one of the significant parts is this. Jesus didn’t have his own tomb. And Joseph allowed Him to use his. In other words, Joseph was saying Jesus was family. Joseph came by night to hear Jesus teach. Now he is declaring: Jesus is family.
Jesus changed his life. That’s what Jesus does. He changed Joseph’s life.
And Monday we’ll look at Mark 16:1-8.
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