The part of Jesus that was a man, a human being just like you and I, experienced death in the same way that we do. When he died, his soul and spirit were separated from his body and the body was placed in a grave in the usual manner for people that lived in the first century. Matthew described what happened this way, “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and 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 sepulcher, and departed” (Matthew 27:57-60).

John’s account of what happened when Jesus’ body was placed in Joseph’s tomb included some details that made it clear that Jesus was in fact dead and had been buried according to traditional procedures, even though the process was accomplished in just a few hours. John indicated Joseph was able to complete the task so quickly because he had help from another person and the tomb was very close to the site where Jesus was crucified. John stated that Joseph came and took the body of Jesus, “and there came also Nicodemus, which at first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then they took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury” (John 19:38-40).

Jesus’ burial was similar to the man Lazarus’ whom he had raised from the dead. An issue that came up when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead was the huge stone that blocked the entrance to his tomb. John indicated that the stone in front of Lazarus’ tomb was a barrier that made it impossible for anyone or anything, including the smell of the dead body, to escape (John 11:38-39). In Jesus’ case, not only was the tomb sealed but a guard was set in front of it to make sure the body was not removed. Matthew stated, “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as you can. So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch” (Matthew 27:62-66).


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