The Burial

Matthew 27:54-60; Mark 15:39-46; Luke 23:49-54;Mtn 19:38

The Roman captain and his men could not believe their eyes! The wind whipped around the captain. He had seen how Jesus had died. That was not the way any normal man died. He looked for the sun, but could not find it. “There’s no doubt! This was the Son of God!” The captain said, “I’ve never seen anyone die like that!”

After six hours of hanging on the cross, Jesus was dead. A group of women helped a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, take Jesus off the cross. They knew that in a few hours the Sabbath would begin. Then nobody would be allowed to do any work. They would not be allowed to bury the body then.

So Joseph took the body down. He wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were with him, together with more women. They slowly carried Jesus’ body into the tomb which Joseph had bought for himself. Now the cave, carved out of rock, would be for Jesus.

Joseph laid the body of Jesus in his tomb. He and the rest of Jesus’ friends wrapped the body in a linen cloth. They placed spices between the folds. The women had wanted to rub special creams onto the body of Jesus, but time was running out. When the sunset, they had to leave. They all wept. Their hearts were heavy with sadness. Jesus was dead.

Jesus’ body lay safe in the tomb. The religious leaders went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “Jesus said He would come back to life again after three days. Please order the cave to be sealed and post a guard. Otherwise His disciples might come and steal the body. Then they could say to the people, ‘See, He has risen from the dead.’ This last lie would be worse than all the rest!”

Pilate told them, “Very well, you can have some of my soldiers to guard the tomb. Now go and make sure the tomb is shut tight.”

They closed off the cave. They posted a Roman guard, then sealed the stone. While they were doing that, they thought to themselves, “Now there’s no way anyone can steal the body. There’s no way they can say He rose from the dead. We’ve made sure of that!” But these religious leaders were in for quite a surprise.