Matthew 27:57-66

Matthew 27:57-66 … Here we read of the burial of the Savior of the world. The Gospel message is most succinctly stated in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NASB): “For I delivered to you as of first importance…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” We don’t think much about the burial of Jesus, but it is part of the Gospel message. Why is it so important to be included in the Gospel message? James Montgomery Boice suggests three reasons:

  1. Burial is final conclusive evidence of Some might (and have) argued that perhaps Jesus just fainted and wasn’t really dead. Nonsense. If the crucifixion hadn’t killed him (although it certainly did), the Jewish burial custom would have sealed the matter. His burial reinforces the miracle of the resurrection.
  2. The details of the burial confirm prophecies about the M There are several verses, most notably Isaiah 53:9, which tell of the association of the rich with the burial (Matthew 27:57: Joseph of Arimathea was rich).
  3. The burial has theological Romans 6:4: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death … so that we too might walk in newness of life.” In Romans, Paul is pointing out that, in Christ, believers depart from sin- dominated life, and move into a life dominated by the love of Christ. That entire Romans passage, Romans 6:1-14 is worth some reflection on the theological significance of the phrase “buried with Him.”

The historical account in Matthew 27:57-66 has other interesting details: First, consider that the Romans wouldn’t normally arrange a funeral for a crucified person; they would simple toss the body in the burning trash heap in the valley below the hill. But Pilate granted the request of the rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, to take the body. Then, the religious rulers get involved again by insisting on guards for the gravesite. Personally, I believe they were fearful of even the crucified Jesus. They had seen His miracles, including the raising of Lazarus even after decay had set into his dead body (John 11:39). Being intelligent men, they had every reason to fear His resurrection. And so a guard was set at His tomb.

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