24 – Resting in the Tomb

24 – Resting in the Tomb 2017-01-08T05:21:53+00:00

Sabbath, June 17, 2017

“When the people learned that Jesus had been put to death by the priests, inquiries were made regarding His death. The particulars of His trial were kept as private as possible; but during the time when He was in the grave, His name was on thousands of lips, and reports of His mock trial, and of the inhumanity of the priests and rulers, were circulated everywhere. By men of intellect these priests and rulers were called upon to explain the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, and while trying to frame some falsehood in reply, they became like men insane. The prophecies that pointed to Christ’s sufferings and death they could not explain, and many inquirers were convinced that the Scriptures had been fulfilled.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 776, 777.

Fulfillment of additional prophecies

1. As the Sabbath was about to begin, what did the Jews ask the governor to do? What did the soldiers do to hasten the victims’ deaths so they could remove the bodies from the crosses? 

John 19:31, 32 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 

“Not on any account would they [the priests and rulers] have had His body remain on the cross during the Sabbath. The Sabbath was now drawing on, and it would be a violation of its sanctity for the bodies to hang upon the cross. So, using this as a pretext, the leading Jews requested Pilate that the death of the victims might be hastened, and their bodies be removed before the setting of the sun.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 771.

2. Having found that Jesus had already died, what did a soldier do to be sure of His death? How was the prophecy concerning the Messiah’s death fulfilled when His bones were not broken and a soldier pierced His side?

John 19:33, 34, first part, 36, 37 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side,… 36For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. 

Exodus 12:46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. 

Zechariah 12:10, first part And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced….

“Pilate was as unwilling as they for the body of Jesus to remain upon the cross. His consent having been obtained, the legs of the two thieves were broken to hasten their death; but Jesus was found to be already dead. The rude soldiers had been softened by what they had heard and seen of Christ, and they were restrained from breaking His limbs. Thus in the offering of the Lamb of God was fulfilled the law of the Passover, ‘They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.’ Numbers 9:12.

“The priests and rulers were amazed to find that Christ was dead. Death by the cross was a lingering process; it was difficult to determine when life had ceased. It was an unheard-of thing for one to die within six hours of crucifixion. The priests wished to make sure of the death of Jesus, and at their suggestion a soldier thrust a spear into the Saviour’s side. From the wound thus made, there flowed two copious and distinct streams, one of blood, the other of water. This was noted by all the beholders, and John states the occurrence very definitely.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 771, 772.

Confirmation of His death

3. What flowed from Jesus’ body when the soldier pierced His side? Why was this very significant?

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

“A soldier, at the suggestion of the priests who wished to make the death of Jesus sure, thrust his spear into the Saviour’s side, inflicting a wound which would have caused instant death if he had not already been dead. From the wide incision made by the spear there flowed two copious and distinct streams, one of blood, the other of water. This remarkable fact was noted by all the beholders….” –Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 172.

“It seemed a great mystery to the people when it was ascertained that Jesus was already dead. They could not reason that this sudden death was from a supernatural cause.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, p. 387.

“But it was not the spear thrust, it was not the pain of the cross, that caused the death of Jesus. That cry, uttered ‘with a loud voice” (Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46), at the moment of death, the stream of blood and water that flowed from His side, declared that He died of a broken heart. His heart was broken by mental anguish. He was slain by the sin of the world.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 772.

Fulfillment of prophecy in His burial

4. Who came forward at this point to ask for Jesus’ body? Who were Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus? 

Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 

Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple.

John 19:38, 39 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 

“In this emergency, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus came to the help of the disciples. Both these men were members of the Sanhedrin, and were acquainted with Pilate. Both were men of wealth and influence. They were determined that the body of Jesus should have an honorable burial. 

“Joseph went boldly to Pilate, and begged from him the body of Jesus. For the first time, Pilate learned that Jesus was really dead. Conflicting reports had reached him in regard to the events attending the crucifixion, but the knowledge of Christ’s death had been purposely kept from him. Pilate had been warned by the priests and rulers against deception by Christ’s disciples in regard to His body. Upon hearing Joseph’s request, he therefore sent for the centurion who had charge at the cross, and learned for a certainty of the death of Jesus. He also drew from him an account of the scenes of Calvary, confirming the testimony of Joseph.

“… While the disciples feared to show themselves openly as His followers, Joseph and Nicodemus came boldly to their aid. The help of these rich and honored men was greatly needed at this time. They could do for their dead Master what it was impossible for the poor disciples to do; and their wealth and influence protected them, in a great measure, from the malice of the priests and rulers.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 773, 774.

5. What services did they provide for Jesus? What other prophecy was thus literally fulfilled?

Matthew 27:59, 60 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 

John 19:40, 41 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 

Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 

“Gently and reverently they removed with their own hands the body of Jesus from the cross. Their tears of sympathy fell fast as they looked upon His bruised and lacerated form. Joseph owned a new tomb, hewn in a rock. This he was reserving for himself; but it was near Calvary, and he now prepared it for Jesus. The body, together with the spices brought by Nicodemus, was carefully wrapped in a linen sheet, and the Redeemer was borne to the tomb. There the three disciples straightened the mangled limbs, and folded the bruised hands upon the pulseless breast.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 774.

Sabbath rest and mourning

6. Who accompanied Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus when they placed Jesus’ body in the tomb? What did the women who followed Him from Galilee do during the final hours of the preparation day?

Luke 23:54-56, first part And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. 55And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments….

“The Galilean women came to see that all had been done that could be done for the lifeless form of their beloved Teacher. Then they saw the heavy stone rolled against the entrance of the tomb, and the Saviour was left at rest. The women were last at the cross, and last at the tomb of Christ. While the evening shades were gathering, Mary Magdalene and the other Marys lingered about the resting place of their Lord, shedding tears of sorrow over the fate of Him whom they loved.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 774.

“Luke, in his account of the Saviour’s burial, speaks of the women who were with Him at His crucifixion, and says:

“ ‘They returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.’ Luke 23:56.

“The Saviour was buried on Friday, the sixth day of the week. The women prepared spices and ointments with which to embalm their Lord, and laid them aside, until the Sabbath was past. Not even the work of embalming the body of Jesus would they do upon the Sabbath day.” –The Story of Jesus, p. 157.

7. Although the whole situation was devastating, what did the believers do on the Sabbath day? In the gospels, how is the Sabbath defined? What was special about the Passover that year?

Luke 23:56, last part … And rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. 

John 19:31, second part … The sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,)…

“The disciples rested on the Sabbath, sorrowing for the death of their Lord, while Jesus, the King of glory, lay in the tomb.” –Early Writings, p. 181.

“That was a never-to-be-forgotten Sabbath to the sorrowing disciples, and also to the priests, rulers, scribes, and people. At the setting of the sun on the evening of the preparation day the trumpets sounded, signifying that the Sabbath had begun. The Passover was observed as it had been for centuries, while He to whom it pointed had been slain by wicked hands, and lay in Joseph’s tomb…. But some present were not at rest as the blood of bulls and goats was offered for sin. They were not conscious that type had met antitype, that an infinite sacrifice had been made for the sins of the world. They knew not that there was no further value in the performance of the ritual service. The place where Jehovah had met with the high priest, to communicate His glory, the place that had been God’s sacred audience chamber, lay open to every eye–a place no longer recognized by the Lord. With gloomy presentiments the priests ministered before the altar. The uncovering of the sacred mystery of the most holy place filled them with dread of coming calamity.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 774, 775.

Thought questions

  • What do we know about the eleven disciples immediately after Jesus’ death? Did they have anything to do with His burial?
  • Who could have imagined that Jesus’ burial revealed new disciples?
  • Did the Jews realize that the suffering, death, and burial of Jesus were the fulfillment of prophecy? What makes it possible for us to understand what they did not?

For additional study

“Many minds were busy with thoughts started by the scenes of Calvary. From the crucifixion to the resurrection many sleepless eyes were constantly searching the prophecies, some to learn the full meaning of the feast they were then celebrating, some to find evidence that Jesus was not what He claimed to be; and others with sorrowful hearts were searching for proofs that He was the true Messiah. Though searching with different objects in view, all were convicted of the same truth–that prophecy had been fulfilled in the events of the past few days, and that the Crucified One was the world’s Redeemer. Many who at that time united in the service never again took part in the paschal rites. Many even of the priests were convicted of the true character of Jesus. Their searching of the prophecies had not been in vain, and after His resurrection they acknowledged Him as the Son of God. –The Desire of Ages, p. 775.