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Go to Jesus' Tomb: The Dark Place Where New Life is Born

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We already have gone to dark Gethsemane, where Saviour blood began to flow for us, soul suffering as made sin for us, wrath of God, withdrawal of His presence suffered for us had begun. We have gone to Golgotha and now see spiritual suffering but now also bodily suffering,. The Son of God incarnate lays his life done absorbing all wrath and punishment and suffering even of hell, until in the darkness of God wrath against our sin, at the end of the 3 h of darkness, his hearts breaks - breathes his last - It is complete - like theif and centruion - understand He was the Righteous ONe, dying for our sins,but understand he died the guiltiest man of all with our sins, and here is the miracle with those last words - he died a forgiven man for us, the Father acepted the sacrifice for you and for me! Hear and believe forgiveness and Paradise a kingdom openeed up.
But now Christ has paid for sin, why not raise Him up right away? Why three days in the tomb and not just any tomb? Do you understand that in just the same way the birth of jesus was supernatural, the life , the dying on the Cross not just passive enduring but Christ was actively becoming sin and actively paying for it - and still calling out to God in the middle of it - for us - no one else could withstand it, no one else could pay the perfect life back to God.
But do you understand that His taking on human death in body and soul, his burial was also supernatural? Understand that Christ as the crucified one - God-man , so too Christ as the buried One, the dead one - for you accomplishing something so wonderful in the darkest place of all. The Son of God was the one the Father sent into the world, as the one who embodies God’s God’s saving and gracious presence on earth. Now understand he is doing that fully and wonderfully even with His dead-cold body in the grave. God’s divine presence with the dead Christ, in soul in heaven and in body on and under earth, that Presence of the God with our death changes everything for you and me! Now he is reversing death and all its consequences on you and me.
It is this article of faith that Christ was curlicued for your sin, but that he was also buried for you,that we seek to grasp this Good Friday! His death was not for himself but for you, and so too his burial is for you. It is like he borrows our grave with Joseph’s to change it forever for us! Listen to it in
First importance: i. ii. iii.
1 Corinthians 15:3–5 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
I can’t wait to get to Easter Sunday and what resurrection means for us - but understand today as His body comes to rest in the tomb for three days, that resurrection didn’t happen after the stone was rolled away, it happened in the darkness of that sealed tomb. So you and I must go to the Garden Tomb of Jesus and what it means for you and me! Hear our text from
Why did Jesus die?
Hebrews 2:14 ESV
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
Key Truth: Go to Jesus’ burial tomb and find the lever that launches you into new resurreciton life!
A. See the Tomb through the Eyes of Faith like Joseph
As Luke narrates all these events of the death of Jesus Christ, it is so striking through it all he’s not only telling us what is happening to Jesus, but he especially draws attention to the reactions of three people. In the dialogue of the thief on the Cross and the speech of the Centurion - two most unlikely ones “to get” the Cross - Luke slows down time - imperfect tenses, every thing else crisp events, but the speeches of these two - they get what’s going on. But the third character who gets it is also so unlikely. And Luke draws even more attention to him. Remarkable the biggest event in world history happens Jesus dies - and what the first thing Luke says, it almost seems anti-climatic wouldn’t you say:
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man,
Luke 23:50 ESV
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man,
But that little word Now, and now - is actually word Behold, often untranslated, but here in the middle of the action it is an attention-getter, it is like Luke is saying, Jesus the Son of God has died for you, and now listen up - behold the man - Joseph! What is it in Joseph at the Cross with the dead body of Jesu that we are to get?
Luke builds a list of surprising facts about him and brings us to the crescendo. First, in our ESV from Arimetha/Rama not so important. But then quite surprisingly we learn he is a member of the Sanhedrin, the council of the 70 most wealthy and powerful reiglious and political leaders - who met that very morning to judge and condemn and sentence Jesus to death! Then we learn that he was at least one of the scribes or Pharisees that stood up and said no this is wrong - courageous.
Then even more we read Luke very deliberate two word description of Joseph: a good and righteous man! Now that’s a weird description for Luke a Christ follower to give of a Teacher of the Law and member of the Sanhedrin. Righteous when did we just hear that word - That’s was the one word confession of the Centurion - Surely - this man was innocent, same word, loaded word in NT righteous. Jesus had said, unless your rightesouness exceeds that of even the scribes and pharisees you can’t enter the kingdom of heaven. No hope for you or me, or for those scribes and Pharisees, need perfect righteouness. No hope can’t come in self-righteousness - but now here at the centre of world history as Jesus dies:
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
And now Luke who has just underlined that Jesus was dying as the totally righteous one, so that sinners, all of us who would be getting our just deserts for our sin in our death and hell, could become righteous in him! Now Luke says, Jesus is righteous, and in similar way this Joseph, is righteous. Do you get it?
Matthew said of Joseph - he was a rich man and a follower of Jesus. He like Nicodemus who was with him was a secret follower of Christ - now coming out - and as he comes out - Luke declares him righteous in Christ. I said it last week - you are holy in Christ - hear of the gospel.
But the last description Luke gives of Joseph is the slam dunk. This man was
and he was looking for the kingdom of God.
Luke 23:51b ESV
who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God.
What are you looking for in life? Word means wait expectantly Luke used this word in we saw that Paul had said in some journey - meet you here, wait for - and they were in that port city looking/waiting for him. Luke says that after these disciples experienced the resurrected Christ, back from the dead, Jesus told them
Acts 1:4 ESV
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;
Imagine waiting on the Holy SPirit comes on you. Then Believers in same way experienced X’s rusrrection, experienced HOly SPirit comiong on you, NOw told wait on
1 Thessalonians 1:10 ESV
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Well this Joseph was waiting with eager expectation for what? - Messiah’s kingdom and on the Cross - Messiah whom he secretly followed -was asked Remember me when you come into the kingdom - and Luke is underlingn that the big deal with Christ was not only the forgiveness he won on the Cross, but how that atoning work - would be the corner stone of a whole kingdom of peole purified by God and serving HIm in this borken world for his glory! Jesus kept on saying not only would he die, but that hewould come back fromdeath and the big deal would be that the forgiveness andnew life he would win - really establish new kingdom!
The building block that was rejected became the corner stone of awhole. new world, and Jospeh is one of the first to connect thee dots! And Luke says, you have behold the Cross, now behold its effects with this man Joseph. So lets behold what Jospeh does on this Good Friday!
B. Be United to Christ in His Burial
I was reading this passage this week in a hospital hallway. And as I was reading my Bible, another discovery channel or religious program was playing - talking about how glory is in the highest - highest point - splendour - kind of like Notredame cathedral - outward splendor that steeple a football field high in the air. Struck by the contrast of splendid glory talk while patients in the low humble place of life!
Well what Joseph of Arimetha does, is make it possible for God’s greatest glory to be seen in the lowest darkest place of all. Jesus not only had to be dying and suffering to pay for our sins. He had to finally die and be buried, and at the lowest point of his humiliation in the grave, it was there that God was going to work the greatest display of his glory in all history, in any place in the universe!
It’s hard to be in a hospital, humbling to have others clean you, feel helpless, even harder to surreder to death and helplesss, lifeless. Need to understand unlike many people think death is not hibernation - not a ntural little sleep and then wake on the other side.
Death entered this world as God’s punishment on sin. It is three terirble sepeartions. your body from your soul- body subjected to decay and become dust . It is a terrible separation from the relam of the land of the living and the poeople you love dearest in it. It ulitatmely is sperartion from God’s presence of favour of blessing and life!
And now you must understand what was happening to Jesus on the Cross and especially in the Grave for that brief time. The Son of God came down to earth - humbling - where did he lay then not in silk sheets and soft pillow of a palace bed, laid in a feed box in cave like barn no room - he was born in our human nature to be subject to the curse, God and man united, and the purpose of him being born in your condition of human frailty was so that he could defeat that frailty and that infection of sin as the God man. He alone strong enough to do that on the Cross.
But now he is laid in the grave. And understand that the Son of God in His Divine nature was not one moment separated from his human body or his human soul. In his human soul - having accomplished our salvation he is today with the thief in paradise in the blessing side of the after life in God’s full presence, but in his human body, which is now dead, his divine nature is with him in the lowest. The Son of God incarnate truly died and truly went through physical death for us. He is there in death with a dead human body - and here is our assurance that as Christ went deep down into death, he by His divine nature was planting a victory flag in the grave for us. Deep down in death,He is ending the ultimate power of death for us!
Listen now to the rest of
What happens to us because of Jesus death?
Hebrews 2:14–15 ESV
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
And that is where Joseph comes in. Jesus had reached his loweest point in death experiencing all these separations for us. But now in his burial, his humiliation is ending and exlaation his victory begins because of what Joseph does.
Ordinarily what do you think happens to the body of a curlicued one, after hanging exposed to the elements - not given a proper burial, cursed by earth and thrown in garbage dump - the Valley of Hinnom, Gehenna - burning that never goes out a picture of hell in the NT. But even before the Jews ask Pilate for the bodies to be taken down for Sabbath and high Passover - This Joseph with great courage says Matt, and even making himself late for Passover feast, 4pm it would start, he hears Jesus has died and goes to Pilate and officially and urgently even pleading, asks for the dead body of Jesus. A custom the Romans granted that a family member could take care of a burial outside the city gates of Jerusalem. THE GARDEN TOMB
But it is the details of this tomb that show Christ’s exaltation. These details carefully planned by God and prophesied hundreds of years before, and now in miracle of providence arranged for us to see Christ’s exaltation beginning in the grave! Listen to
Listen to
Isaiah 53:9 ESV
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Do you see it he shares the grave with all us- wicked. But the prophesy says though he shares the grave with all the wicked, somehow a big contrast is made in his burial, but he is given a rich man’s grave! Why is this important.
Understand it with Jewish burial rites. The rich would not just have a plot like us, with grave marker. The rich would have a cut-stone tomb. Take old quarries and cut out a two chamber tomb. Huge expense and would never be used for just on person, but family moseluem. After wrapped with linen and all sorts of spices not to embalm but to combat smell of decay, that body would lay there for 12 months or so, and then family would go back, and put the bones in an ortuary box, and put in a shelf in the first room and the grave chamber would be ready fr the next member to die. Only rich generals of the Roman army and government would have a tomb for themselves.
And Jesus instead of his body thrown on the garbage heap, instead of given over to suffer decay. Joseph,after being granted permission, buys costly linen burial cloth, 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes. And he and Nicodemus, take his lifeless body and wrap it in that linen shroud, place the face-cloth over his head and they entomb him And so is fulfilled the other prophesy about his entombment in
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
Psalm 16:9–11 ESV
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Not only is Jesus exalted in receiving this tomb, but also marked with no defilement of having had death in it before, and Christ body resting in death, borrowing the rich mans’ tomb but for thee days, he does not suffer corruption, the Father has in giving the light after the sacrifice was made, after the wrath of God and the punishment of hell were over - and he receives his Son's spirit - he also gives that body hope of rest - Jesus was sanctifying the grave for us! Like his supernatural birth in the virgin Mary’s womb, now in clean funeral sheets, and now in tomb undefiled by any other’s death, he goes through death victorious for us!
O His resurrection would prove it, but already death was being changed for us - as he spiritually ascended to heaven and was with the thief and all believers in heaven. Listen to
Ephesians 4:9–11 ESV
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
Ephesians 4:10 ESV
He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Ephesians 4:9–10 ESV
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Ephesians 4:6 ESV
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Don't rush from the tomb , here is rock solid assurance that until our final bodily Resurrection, that as puts it to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. Until our final bodily resurrection, Jesus tomb is our assurance that for us to die and depart from this world is to be with Christ. Don’t rush from Jesus tomb - for it is the assurance also that those united to Christ - not just their souls get eternal peace, but that our bodies - RIP - until the Resurrection when body and soul united just like Christ’s resurrected person - enjoy eternal peace in the fulness of the kingdom! Linger here - and receive that message we sing at Christmas - Now we need not fear the grave! It was the whole point of his birth, and his cross - defeat the grave and he who holds us in fear! Linger at his grave - and feel it that the last enemy to be destroyed is death, and in Christ’s victory in the tomb - he is paving the way for your victory over your own grave!
Understand that what this means from
Romans 6:4 ESV
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Think of all the effects of sin in your life including physical death - if you are one with Christ, if like Joseph - offer your grave to Jesus - then know he has worked victory in that tomb, like your sin has rolled off your back, on his at the Cross, but on the Cross, rolls into a tomb - no more power to condemn or punish you - no more death -
Athanasius said: Christ fully shared in our humanity - his conditions had to be the same as ours, so he could bring God’s own being and nature all the way into the heart of our condition. If you are united by faith to Christ in his burial - then Christ’s eternal being can deliver you from mortality and hell. Oh think of your future death - who but the source and preserver of life - can defeat death for you!
And if that is your experience at Christ’s tomb, know your exalatation has already begun, for you will raise with Him. Which is the goodnews we will look at on Sunday!
But before Luke leaves the tomb of Jesus until resurrection Sunday, there is one more detail that calls for your response to Christ’s death and burial. And it is of the one group who has been passively standing off on the side - in absolute horror at the Cross. What are his disciples doing? And particularly those women who followed him, many of who had so supported him. What are the ones who had been healed by him, experienced the wonder of forgiveness,
C. Offer the Spices & Ointments of Your Adoration
Consider what it costs these disciples of Jesus who, though not yet comprehending Gods’ miraculous plan, not yet knowing of resurrection, consider what it cost them to adore Jesus in His sacrificial death. Joseph would be giving up his titles probably his property his family and social connections - if they kicked commoners out of synagogues for just following Jesus - you can bet any who sided with Jesus in his death as publically as Joseph did in the Sanhedrin and before Pilate and giving him his own tomb - would lose all!
But this was his coming out moment and he stood with Jesus even at his lowest. Do you? When it’s not popular and you wouldn’t have to say a thing about Christ his ways or his salvation, or your worship of him. At work or school, in the public square - will we go with Jesus to the low places, unpopular, the places of suffering in the lowest -
Jesus had said in as much as you did it to the least of these my brethren did unto me. Will you confess Christ as Joseph did?
But watch now these women, grieving from a distance. They too dare to approach Joseph and Nicodemus, to go with them, the 11 too ashamed too afraid to be seen as the revolutionaries closest associates are in hiding. But these women with loving devotion prepare for his burial and listen what do they do on Saturday - on the Sabbath?
You pass over this, but no Jew would.
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Luke 23:54 ESV
It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.
Luke 23:54–56 ESV
It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Here you must trust. Don’t rush past Silent Saturday. Consider with them the Son of God’s very human body in the dust of the earth. Entombed not in a manger, but cold hard dark stone hewn grave. And I dare you to rest. Rest in the fact that Jesus wasn’t hibernating - not what death is, He was turning death from a punishment you better fear, with judgment and hell awaiting on the other side, to an entrance into eternal and resurrection life!
Understand that that Silent Saturday, was the last OT Sabbath day. As Irenaus put it, the day the first Adam was created was that Sixth day - that Friday, it is the same day that Christ died taking on himself the curse and the penalty of death that all of us stuck in the first Adam have incurred! But now he is exhausting all the curse and suffering. And it is paid at the end of the work of the 6th day, the end of the old covenant of works that Christ was satisfying for all of us who are in Old Adam. But Now on the 7th day, the last Sabbath of the OT, Jesus like a seed in placed in the heart of the earth - and he rests. And use this time to consider the rest he has won, consider how death and the grave are now changed if you are one with him.
And wait for it, wait for Resurrection. Dies on the sixth day, rests on the last Seventh Day sabbath - but now he has earned the reward of the first creation - he already enjoys that in his soul with the thief and saints in glory - but wait for it. A new first day of the week, Easter Sunday, the Christian Sabbath which isn’t waiting for any work of yours or any punishment to be satisfied. Rest in all he’s accomplished on the Cross in the grave for you. But wait for it, the New creation , the new Adam the new humanity, the new kingdom is about to break forth for all who wait and rest and adore this one who died for us and rests in the grave!
For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
Galatians 6:14–15 ESV
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
That new creation is really the only thing that counts - and it will be those who like the women and Nicodemus and Joseph - who offer their spices and ointment of honour who will experience that new creatio first!
Think of Jesus on Good Friday, You can adore him in new way because you trust what he accomplished on the Cross. Like Van Eyk’s painting: you who are like Joseph, like soldiers here, centurion, you who are like the women, peter, commoners - adore the Lamb!
But now adore Him as he waits in death in the grave in order to make a new way through it all! His body waiting in the darkness of the dust but suffering no corruption, and his soul having passed through all weakness and glorified in heaven - and Friday and Saturday he rest and he is longing for His earthly body to be resurrected and joined with his glorified soul - to come to earth again and begin making all things new -
Are you united to Christ? Are we His earthly body, not yet glorified - understand just like on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, he was longing and itching to come back for His own body and own resurrected life, now he longs that for you - united to Him in his death in his burial, and wait for it united to him in his Resurrection! Are you waiting expectantly, for the stone that was rejected, now lies in the tomb, to be raised up, as the corner stone of the new world, the new kingdom - wait for Him! Amen.
Let us now remember and celebrate and even by faith participate in His union with us in life and death.
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