Mark: According to
In a Borrowed Tomb
42 “Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate marveled that he was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. 45 so when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where he was laid.”
As we discovered in our last post, Jesus died at the 9th hour or 3:00 pm. And our text makes it clear that the day in which Jesus was crucified was the Preparation Day, the day before the Sabbath. It was also the time of the Passover. John in his gospel tells us that Nicodemus, the man who had first come to Jesus under the cover of night, assisted Joseph, in removing the body of Jesus from the cross (John 19:39).
According to Levitical law a man was not to remain suspended in air over night for fear of the land being cursed, and time was short for just before 7:00 pm the sun would set marking the beginning of the Sabbath and a dead person could not be attended to on the Sabbath as it would be considered work and to further complicate things, it was Passover.
Now for one to participate of the Passover they had to be ceremonially clean, which meant they could not handle anything that was dead, and yet Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the council and Nicodemus, also a member of the council, carefully removed Jesus bruised and battered body off the cross.
Usually death upon a cross took many hours if not days for it to accomplish its cruel task. More often than not those dying upon the cross would curse out at those who crucified them. But instead of cursing Jesus had sought forgiveness for all those that had participated in this horrible crucifixion. For as Jesus put it, “They know not what they are doing.” Indeed they did not know.
Oh, if only you and I could have that same forgiving spirit of our Lord as he hung upon that tree between two criminals. Oh, that we could have the same love for our fellow mankind that Jesus had throughout his life.
So Joseph petitioned Pilate that he be given the body of Jesus, and upon receiving the body and lowering it off the cross, he wrapped it in new, clean linen which represented the righteousness of Christ and placed him in a tomb.
This was not just any tomb, for this was a tomb that was hewn out of solid rock. How fitting that the Rock of Ages, the symbol of strength should be placed within a tomb of solid rock. Christ who was the creator of the world yet when born among men never owned a thing that he could call His own, was placed not in a tomb made for him, but in a borrowed tomb, a tomb that Joseph had himself commissioned to be his final resting place.
So carefully they placed Jesus within the tomb and then knocked the wedge away that held the stone in place and the stone rolled into place and formed a seal across the opening of the tomb.
It was there, the Saviour of the world rested from his work of salvation. As the creator of the world had rested upon the seventh day, He once again rested on the seventh day, the Sabbath.
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the Seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3). This is what Christ did at the beginning after having created the world. He set the Sabbath apart from all the other days by blessing it and making it a special day in which all mankind could rest from their labor and spend time with their maker.
But Adam and Eve revolted against the government of God and so the plan of salvation which was already in place was put into action. Now just before the sun set at the end of the sixth day of the week, Christ was laid to rest. As he rested on the seventh day after the six days of creation, Christ spend the Sabbath in the grave resting from all His work of Salvation. The victory had been won. Christ and been born, lived a sinless life, a life that Adam, Eve and all of us had been unable to live. Christ lived the life Adam could not live that he might win the victory over sin, and that all our sins could be forgiven.
So Jesus, the creator of the world and the Saviour of the world as he had rested after the creation of the world now rested in the grave upon the Sabbath after having completed the plan of salvation so that you and I would no longer be separated from our heavenly Father and we would not have to die the death of separation from our Father as Jesus had done.
Our redemption was paid in full. The debt that none of us can afford to pay was wiped clean by Jesus death upon the cross. The sacrificial lamb in the temple had gone free, the creator of the world laid quietly in the grave, our salvation was complete.
May we forever be thankful of the supreme sacrifice that Christ made for you and for me.