April 15, 2006

Jesus' Funeral

Luke 23:50-56

[Joseph] took [Jesus' body] down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb ... Luke 23:53


At first, Joseph was reluctant to take an unpopular position. He was a wealthy man who had sat on the council that had condemned Jesus, but he did not agree with the council's decision and action. As another passage tells us, Joseph was also secretly a disciple of Jesus (John 19:38).

After Jesus' death, however, Joseph came through. As the Reformer John Calvin says, Joseph must have received a dose of "holy boldness" to go to Pilate when Jesus was at his lowest point--a dead criminal--and ask for his body. In this way Joseph did what he could to honor his Lord, even though it may not have seemed like much.

Compared to other Jewish funerals, Jesus' funeral was very simple. As the Bible explains, the Sabbath was about to begin, and this meant the body had to be buried quickly and without much ceremony. So there was no funeral procession, no music, and no eulogy or sermon. Joseph simply took the body of Jesus down, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a nearby, unused tomb that he himself owned.

Jesus' funeral proves that he really died. Our salvation from sin was actually accomplished. He died to help "the least of these" in their time of greatest need--that is, all of us who were hopelessly trapped in sin.

Lord, millions of suffering people are at the end of their rope. Give us the courage to reach out to them and share the good news and joy you have given us. In your name, Amen.

About the author — H. David Schuringa

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