The Death of Death In the Death of Christ
A continuation of our series in the gospel of Matthew:The Messiah of Promise
57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 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. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
Our passage today debunks at least two attempts to deal with an empty tomb. First the body was not buried in a shallow grace as some have purported, due to some archaeological evidence that this is what they did with criminals, but He was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man who put Jesus in his own tomb with a seal. Secondly, and more forcefully, Jesus’ body was not stolen since they put a “Guard of soldiers” around the tomb to guard against that. In what way(s) could this cowardly feeble band of men take on a Roman guard duty, which usually consisted of 12 of the finest fighting soldiers? The tomb was “Sealed,” which meant that a Roman seal was placed around it, and no one could remove that seal or they would be executed on the spot.
- How come it’s so easy to deceive ourselves re: Jesus and fail to believe the obvious?
- What are some of the reasons people/you have doubts about Jesus’ death?
- How important is understanding this event from a historical point of view? Why?
- Why did Matthew make sure verses 62-66 were heard in his Gospel?