Category Archives: Devotion

The Burial of Jesus Christ Essential to the Gospel

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. 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 Corinthians 15:1-5

In our thoughts and presentations of the Gospel, much attention is given to the death and resurrection of our Lord, and rightly so. But there is often times a tendency to go from “He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30) to “Now on the first day of the week…” (John 20:1), as if there are no blessings nor comfort to be had between those events. But there are. Let’s not overlook them.

PAUL VIEWED THE BURIAL AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF THE GOSPEL

First, a few preliminaries. In the passage quoted above we have one of the most concise summaries of the Gospel in Scripture. In verse 1, Paul says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you”. Immediately following he clarifies the precise points of that Gospel.

He was crucified…buried…raised on the third day… He appeared.

Paul clearly regarded the burial of Christ Jesus as an essential element of the Gospel, and you will note that in Paul’s presentation in Scripture, he does not fail to include it.

JESUS INCLUDED HIS BURIAL AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF THE GOSPEL

In Matthew 26 and parallel passages, we see Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive ointment, wiping it with her hair (see John 12:7). Note in the passage in Matthew, Jesus says,

“Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”(26:13).

How many times will it be said this coming Sunday, “We have met this morning to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus…” Brethren, don’t forget the burial!

Our Lord’s burial is far more than a historical footnote, something that so obviously takes place when you have a dead body.

In our main passage quoted above, Paul twice says these elements of the Gospel were “in accordance with the Scriptures.” In other words, these things have occurred as a fulfillment of prophecy and are essential ingredients of the Gospel message to be taken to the world.

One of those prophecies is found in Isaiah 53. Note verse 9.

“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.” (Isaiah 53:9).

A note from JFB on this passage is instructive:

Rather, “His grave was appointed,” or “they appointed Him His grave” [Hengstenberg]; that is, they intended (by crucifying Him with two thieves, Mat_27:38) that He should have His grave “with the wicked.” Compare Joh_19:31, the denial of honorable burial being accounted a great ignominy (see on Isa_14:19; Jer_26:23). and with … rich — rather, “but He was with a rich man,” etc. Gesenius, for the parallelism to “the wicked,” translates “ungodly” (the effect of riches being to make one ungodly); but the Hebrew everywhere means “rich,” never by itself ungodly; the parallelism, too, is one of contrast; namely, between their design and the fact, as it was ordered by God (Mat_27:57; Mar_15:43-46; Joh_19:39, Joh_19:40); two rich men honored Him at His death, Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus.

Remember Joseph of Arimathea? A rich man indeed!

“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.” – Matthew 27:57-60

The details of the burial of our Lord are covered in all 4 gospels. Yet is it not true, that often times we focus more on the death and resurrection of Jesus and pass right by His burial? I think so.

So what about the blessings of His burial? We know He died, we know He rose again, we know He ascended to the right hand of the Father where He reigns forever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

HIS BURIAL GIVES BELIEVERS A HOPE THE WORLD DOES NOT HAVE

Were it not for the mercy and grace of God, had He not intervened at a point in time to show us our wickedness and need for the Savior, we would be hopeless like the rest of mankind outside of Christ.

The world outside of Christ fears death. It is the end of hope for them, yet for the believer, what are we told?

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” – Psalm 116:15.

It pleased the Lord to crush His only Son (Isaiah 53:10), yet the Father did not abandon His Son forever in His burial! Nor will He abandon His true children! Not even in the grave!

Beloved, the world does not have this comfort, yet those who truly are children of God have this blessed hope of not being forsaken in the grave! That’s a blessing! That is the Father looking in our direction, and being pleased because we were redeemed by His Son!

Jesus Christ has transformed even death, sanctified it, set it apart, so that even death is viewed by His children differently than by the world. If we truly believe, we need not fear death nor the grave.

Just as the Father did not forsake His Son in burial, neither will He forsake us. Just as Christ Jesus has risen from the dead, so shall we. God’s Word is true, take comfort!

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Our Sure Foundation for Peace and Security in Christ Jesus

Foster_Bible_Pictures_0062-1_The_Angel_of_Death_and_the_First_Passover

And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. – Exodus 12:13

Jesus has delivered the believer from the wrath to come when He will execute judgment upon those who have rejected Him (I Th. 1:10).

The Israelites only needed to touch the lintel and two doorposts on their homes with the blood of a lamb – openly and visibly, not hidden – in order to secure their safety and peace from the destroyer who brought death to the Egyptians, who typified the world of unbelievers. On that dreadful night when the Lord came to strike the Egyptians, the Israelites had nothing else to do but remain inside until morning.

I read Exodus 12:13 this morning and was immediately drawn to that simple phrase, “When I see the blood”.

There is our salvation and our peace with, of and from God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, right there.

“When” God sees the blood of Christ we are safe and have peace with Him; not if God sees it. Our God is omniscient, knowing all things; He is above time and space, He is seeing it right now as you read this.

“I see” , that is, when God Himself sees the blood of Christ we are safe and have peace with Him. The Israelites didn’t need to see it in order to be, feel or know they were safe. They didn’t need to experience anything. Their safety and security was made so only by the blood and the sure Word of God.

They rested in the character of God, in His faithfulness to keep His Word to them. That was the sole foundation for their peace and safety – nothing but the blood. The same goes for the believer today. A Christian does not need to experience, feel, say or do anything to be safe from the wrath of God, for peace with God or even for cleansing of all sin, because it is the blood of Jesus that does that, and God Himself sees it. Therein, in that shed blood alone – by faith – and nothing else – is our peace.

“The blood” of Jesus Christ, shed for me. God tells us in His Word that we have “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Through His blood, nothing else.

The blood of Jesus itself, and it alone, saves us, cleanses us from sin and brings us peace. The Holy Spirit does not cleanse us from sins, only the blood of Jesus does that. I John 1:7. Our thoughts or feelings about the blood do not save us, nor make us secure, only the blood itself. The blood of Jesus does not partially save us, partially cleanse us nor partially shelter us from the wrath of God to come, but does so fully, by faith, in all these things.

Our Lord Jesus, after shedding His blood on the cross, ascended to the Father and before the throne of glory presented His sacrifice for acceptance. He sprinkled His own blood, that it might be seen and  accepted as full payment for our purchase….and it was.

Brethren, our sure foundation for peace and security in Christ is in the written Word of God, describing the grace and mercy of God, through the finished work of Christ. Our security rest in Christ work for us, not the Holy Spirit’s work in us in sanctification. The work of the Holy Spirit is not finished yet, the work of Christ for our redemption is, and we must know for a certainty, that God sees the blood of His only Son, and has accepted that finished work on our behalf as our substitute. It is a reality, God make it so in our hearts during times of doubt!

We need nothing else to rely upon; not thoughts, feelings nor charismatic experiences. Our Mighty, righteous, holy God has seen the blood of Christ, and we stand secure in that glorious, wonderful declaration of mercy and grace, a sure pledge for all who truly believe in Jesus by faith alone:

When I see the blood, I will pass over you

Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Yes, Lord, and amen!