2000-04-17 - Buried with the Rich
The Prophecy Fulfilled Series, Part 10
Isaiah 53:9, "His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth."
Matthew 27:57-60, "And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away."
Throughout Jewish history they have held to the practice of burial. Interment, preparations, embalming, grave clothes, wailing, and a host of other issues are associated with Jewish burial. When Christ died on the Friday that they crucified Him, since it was the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, it was not possible to prepare His body for burial until after the Sabbath was over.
To prepare a body for burial made the preparer unclean. The reason Joseph went to Pilate to request the Body of Jesus was so that it would not hang there until Sunday morning when the Jewish Sabbath would be over. Joseph placed Christ in a private sepulchre. It was certainly the grave of a rich man. It took a lot of effort to carve, out of solid rock, a place of burial. The graves of this sort would have a roof of stone and an arched entry way. It is possible to still see many of these graves in Palestine.
The common practice was to seal the entrance of the sepulcher with a huge stone. The stone would have to be moved by several people. The grave of Christ was large enough so that the women who went to the grave on the day Christ rose are said to have entered in, three of them, and it is reported that they "saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed." (Mark 16:5)
We must remember that even a detail this simple, a prophecy seemingly insignificant, is fulfilled in the New Testament. How wonderful God's word is. In it we find truth and consistency over and over again. Even in this small detail, Scripture remains true. This was understood by J. I. Packer when he said, "Truly, the inner unity of the Bible is miraculous; a sign and wonder, challenging the unbelief of our skeptical age."
"It is impossible that Scripture should contradict itself; it only appears so to senseless and obstinate hypocrites." Martin Luther
Soli Deo Gloria,