Jesus is buried
READ Matthew 27:57-66
At last Pilate makes one clear decision: to let Joseph of Arimathea have Jesus’ body (58). Whilst Jesus’ other disciples went into hiding, Joseph emerged (57; John 19:38). Like the woman in 26:6-13, his is a great and generous act of devotion. Rock tombs were very expensive, and, after using it for condemned criminal, Joseph would be compelled by Jewish custom to purchase another for his own use. His care and reverence in providing clean linen for the body is touching (59).
On the Sabbath the chief priests and Pharisees express to Pilate their anxiety that the disciples might seek to force a ‘fulfillment’ of Jesus’ foretelling of His resurrection by stealing the body (62-24; 12:40; John 2:19). This would indeed ruin their plans to snuff out this man and His memory (64). It is ironic that the guards that is mounted adds weight to the subsequent claims of the disciples; but, as we shall see, it didn’t stop them circulating lies.
The Nicene Creed states that ‘He descended into Hell’. This has been much discussed. Unfortunately the only New Testament texts that seem to throw light upon this issues are themselves very difficult to interpret and probably don’t refer to His death at all (Ephesians 4:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:18-4:6). For the most part the Fathers of the early church took it to mean that between His death and resurrection Jesus took the Gospel message to the deceased saints of the Old Testament. What Matthew certainly wants to affirm is that Jesus indeed die a real human death on the cross (62-64). This is an essential prerequisite for a real physical resurrection. He was dead when placed in the tomb.
PRAY Lift to God those know to you who are facing the end of their lives. Pray also for those you know who have lost loved ones.