Matthew – God’s Purposes
Those who thought they were in charge got what they wanted…the death of the One who told the Truth and was the Truth. They thought it was over with the burial. But then they remembered what Jesus said about rising from the dead in three days. You would think that since they didn’t believe anything Jesus said before that they would remember this statement. Fear and lies from the evil one working through them pressed them to seal the tomb so Jesus’ body couldn’t be removed. Laughable to believers, today, right? Mm.
At times, do we seal Jesus up in our lives? We cannot keep Jesus bound in a tomb or put on a shelf until we need Him. But sometimes we act like we can do this feat of the impossible. We cannot keep Him hidden away so others we are trying to impress or please won’t know we know Jesus. We cannot pull Him into our lives and shove Him in and out of our lives as if we control HIM!
When we do, we are no better than the mockers and haters who shoved, whipped and spit on Jesus. The religious elite who thought they killed Jesus forever were in for a surprise. It is just as ludicrous and laughable…to think we control Christ. He is Savior. We do not save ourselves. He is Lord and we are not. We do not want what we want when we become believers who follow Jesus. We want what HE wants for us. We follow Him. He does not follow us. But, He will come and get us when we are lost and trying to find our way back home.
Matthew 27, NLT
The Burial of Jesus
57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”
65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
Were it not for the intervention of Jospeh of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:38), the body of Jesus might not have had a decent burial. Joseph and Nicodemus had come to believe in Jesus, even though they had not openly testified of their faith. God kept them hidden, as it were, that they might care for the body of Jesus. Since Joseph was a rich man, and he prepared the new tomb, he helped in the fulfillment of prophecy, Isaiah 53:9—“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death” (niv).
It is not likely that Joseph prepared that tomb for himself. He was a wealthy man and certainly would not want to be buried so near a place of execution. He prepared that tomb for Jesus, and he selected a site near Golgotha so that he and Nicodemus could bury Christ’s body quickly. Joseph and Nicodemus could very well have been in the garden waiting for Jesus to die. When they took Him from the cross, they defiled themselves and were not able to eat the Passover. But, what difference did it make? They had found the Lamb of God!
In contrast to the loving care given by Jesus’ friends, notice the plotting and maneuvering of the Jewish leaders. The disciples had forgotten that Jesus promised to rise from the dead on the third day, but His enemies remembered. Pilate permitted the leaders to set a guard at the tomb. This guard put an official Roman seal on the stone. All of this was of God, for now it was impossible for anyone—friend or foe—to steal the body. Without realizing it, the Jewish leaders and the Roman government joined forces to help prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Yes, they got what they wanted…but not for long!
Dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for dying for my sins. Thank you for going to hell and back again for my soul and the souls of the world who believe in You. Thank you for defeating death and rising again! Proof of your love is everywhere around us, in us and working through us. We want what you want for us and nothing less. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. Thank you for your continued love, care, and transformation of us to more like you.
In Jesus Name, Amen