March 26, 2016: Buried
I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you (John 14:18).
All four gospel writers tell us that Jesus was buried. Our most prominent creeds, the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, do the same. Why? Why is it necessary to be reminded that the lifeless body of Jesus of Nazareth was buried? On one level this fact is emphasized to underscore that Jesus actually did die. Early critics of the resurrection of Jesus argued that he did not die, but instead fell into a coma from which he was later revived. His three-day burial disproves that theory.
There is another reason why his burial is an article of the Christian faith, one that brings enormous comfort for anyone who has stood at a loved one’s graveside. Jesus Christ has been even there. One of the funeral prayers of the Reformed Church says: “Almighty God, by the death of your Son Jesus Christ you destroyed death; by his rest in the tomb you sanctified the graves of the saints…” Jesus was laid in Joseph’s borrowed tomb, and in so doing he made even our darkest and loneliest place holy ground.
This, at least in part, is how Jesus makes good on his promise: I will not leave you orphaned, I am coming to you. (John 14:18)
Prayer: We bless you, Lord Jesus, for even going to the grave with us.
Today’s devotional was written by Tim Brown, president and Henry Bast professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.