CHRIST'S BURLAL AND RESURRECTION

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[Matthew:27:57-66] [Matthew:28:1-20]

Lesson No.: 
221
Class: 
Junior
Memory Verse: 

"I know that my redeemer liveth" (Job 19:25).

Notes: 

The Crucifixion of Christ

Less than a week before Christ's crucifixion, the people had honoured Him as He made His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. The multitude had cried,  "Hosanna;  Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mark 11:9). Within a few days, their praises of honour were turned to cruel shouts of "Crucify him, crucify him" (Luke 23:21). After Pilate had declared for the third time that Christ was innocent, the mob gained control, and Christ was led away to be crucified.

Forgiveness

Upon Mount Calvary, nailed to the cross, Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). So great was His love for sinful men that He freely forgave those who killed Him, besides giving His life that all who believe in Him might have eternal life. When the love of Jesus fills our hearts, we have no hard feelings toward any person, even toward those who would mistreat us. We, too, have the love, which freely forgives.

Jesus, the Son of God, died upon the cross, hanging between two thieves. Thus the Scriptures were fulfilled (Isaiah 53:12). "One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water" (John 19:34).  Christ gave His life and shed His Blood that we might have our sins washed away, and live clean, holy lives here upon earth and prepare for Heaven.

His Followers

At the time of Jesus' crucifixion and death, His followers had been scattered. Peter denied that he knew Jesus (Matthew 26:70‑72). Others stood afar off beholding the things, which happened. Some were very timid lest it be known that they were Jesus' followers. Perhaps they feared that a similar death was awaiting them if they claimed to be Jesus' dis­ciples. Since it was the day to prepare for the Feast of the Passover and no body could remain on the cross on the Sabbath Day (John 19:31), what would become of the body of Christ?

Faithful

In times of need, there have always been faithful people to work for the Lord. At this time, when some seemed to draw back, and others were overcome by grief, a rich man of Arimathea took the opportunity of doing what he could. This man, Joseph, was a good and just man who be­lieved in and "waited for the kingdom of God" (Luke 23:50, 51). Joseph was a "disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews" (John 19:38).  The Jews had agreed that any man who confessed Christ would be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22). At this time of need, Joseph identified himself with Christ's followers.

In times past, before Jesus' death, Joseph had been fearful -- he had followed Jesus secretly. Now, at the time of Jesus' death, he had courage. Seemingly without thinking of his position as a counsellor, or without con­sidering what the result might mean to him, Joseph went boldly to Pilate (Mark 15:43), and begged permission to care for the body of Jesus. Joseph went to the one who had authority to dispose of Jesus' body. Joseph did not try to do it without anyone knowing, but he received permission in a proper and orderly manner. Pilate gave the body of Jesus to Joseph, thus delivering Him from the hands of enemies into the hands of friends.

Preparation

When Jesus' body was delivered to Joseph, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. Another one of Jesus' followers -- Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus at night -- helped Joseph. Nicodemus brought a mixture of spices to put with the body, as was the custom of burying among the Jews (John 19:39). They prepared the body of Jesus for burial with love, care, and foresight, as much as their limited time would allow. Joseph had a new tomb, hewn out of a rock, which had been prepared for Joseph himself. We are told that only rich people could afford such a tomb -- hewn in rock, and new. This, too, fulfilled the prophecy concerning Christ's death and burial: "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death" (Isaiah 53:9).

Nicodemus gave costly spices, and Joseph gave his new tomb to be used for Jesus. Is this not a good example for us -- to give something to Jesus? Perhaps we have planned to use our lives for ourselves and our own gain. But our lives are something that Jesus can use. Maybe we have planned to use our talents for our own personal pleasure. Jesus can use them, too. As we read of others giving to Jesus, is there not something in our heart, which desires to give to Jesus, too? Are we as willing as Joseph to give to the Lord that which Jesus can use and which He needs?

Burial

Jesus was laid in Joseph's new tomb, and a great stone was rolled to the door. Near by were some of Jesus' followers -- women from Galilee (Luke 23:55) -- who saw where Jesus was laid. So Jesus was buried as if the disciples expected Him to remain in the grave. The bodies of dead people do remain in the grave; but Jesus was the Son of God, and He had resurrection power. Jesus had said that He would rise again the third day (Matthew 16:21). Jesus had power over death and the grave.

Jesus' disciples seemed to forget His teachings. Others remembered that He had said that He would come forth from the grave. The chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate with a request that he command that Jesus' tomb be made sure lest the disciples should move Jesus' body and say that He had risen (Matthew 27:64). Pilate gave permission for them to make Jesus' grave as sure as they could.

The chief priests and Pharisees sealed the stone at the door of the tomb. Soldiers were left to guard it. They did all that was within their power to try to keep Jesus in the grave, but they failed. "There is no wis­dom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD" (Proverbs 21:30).

The Third D ay

Very early the morning of the third day after Jesus was buried, several women, followers of Jesus, made their way through the dimness to the garden where Jesus had been buried (John 19:41, 42). As they went along the way, they wondered how they would roll the stone from the door of the tomb (Mark 16:3). When they arrived at the grave, in the light of the dawn they saw that the stone was already rolled away. They had won­dered and worried unnecessarily. How many times have we concerned ourselves about something that never came to pass? May we learn to com­mit our lives to God and trust Him instead of wondering and worrying about the future!

An Angel

Who rolled the stone from the door of the tomb? There was an earthquake, and an angel from Heaven rolled the great stone away. The appearance of the angel frightened the soldiers. The clothing of the angel was dazzling, white as snow. The angel's face was bright like the lightning. The soldiers, who were keeping the watch, trembled and became as dead men.

The angel spoke reassuringly to the women, and told them not to be afraid. The women were invited to look into the tomb where Jesus had lain. There was no linen wrapped body, which they had expected to find. Jesus was not there; He was risen, as the angel said, and the burial clothes were left in the tomb (John 20:5).

Fear and Joy

As the women went to tell the other disciples, their hearts were filled with a mixture of fear and joy. They had fear because they were overwhelmed by the power of Jesus, which was greater than they could understand. They had joy because they would see Jesus, and that He was not dead. As the women ran to tell the good news to the disciples, Jesus Himself met them. He greeted them, saying, "All hail." The women knelt at His feet and worshiped Him. Jesus told them to tell the others that He would meet them in Galilee.

A Bribe and a Lie

Some of the soldiers assigned to watch Jesus’ grave reported to the authorities what had happened. The chief priests held a council with the elders. They decided to try to keep the truth from the people. They would not admit that Jesus had risen from the grave. They bribed the soldiers with a large sum of money, to lie. The soldiers risked the punishment of death for sleeping on guard. They accepted the money, and said that while they were asleep, the disciples had taken Jesus' body away. So convincing was their story that this saying was commonly reported among the Jews.

Meaning of Jesus' Resurrection

Jesus' resurrection from the grave is important to all believers. It means that we serve a living Saviour, One to whom all power is given --  all power in Heaven and all power in earth. It was necessary for Christ to give His life for our sins. It was just as necessary for Christ to rise from the dead that we might be justified (Romans 4:25). Christ's resurrection is also a pledge and a pattern (a promise and an example) of the resurrection of the dead in Christ when the trumpet of God shall sound. Those who are alive and ready to meet Jesus "shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:17).

Meeting Jesus

Although some people did not admit nor believe that Jesus arose from the grave, there was a host of witnesses that saw Him. The eleven disciples went to Galilee and Jesus met them, as He had said. Jesus talked with His disciples, and they worshiped Jesus, their risen Saviour.

Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus with two of His disciples (Luke 24:13‑15). At first they did not recognise Jesus, but His presence caused their hearts to burn within them as He explained the Scriptures; and when they recognised Him, He disappeared out of their sight (Luke 24:31,32). Jesus appeared to others, too.  As many as 500 disciples saw Jesus at one time (I Corinthians 15:6).

Doubters

Some of Jesus' followers could not believe that He had really risen from the grave and that He was alive. They heard all the reports of the others yet they wanted to see for themselves. Thomas had not attended the first meeting when Jesus appeared to the disciples. So often it is the case that when a person stays away from a Gospel meeting, and it was possible to go, that the person misses something special. Thomas missed seeing Jesus. Thomas said:  "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25).

At the next meeting, Thomas was there. Jesus was there, too. When Thomas saw Jesus, it was not necessary to put his hand into the nailprints. When Thomas saw Christ, he believed. Jesus said: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

Knowledge Through Experience

There have been many believers who never saw Christ yet who knew that He was living. Even Job spoke with certainty, when he said,  ”I know that my redeemer liveth."

Jesus' followers today have not seen Jesus, but in their hearts they know that He is living. A Christian's walk is one of faith, not of sight (II Corinthians 5:7). Then how do we know that Jesus is living? It is more than faith. It is more than hope. It is an experience of salvation that one has in his heart that gives the assurance of a living Saviour.

"He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart."

Questions: 
  1. Why was Christ crucified?
  2. Why did Jesus go to Jerusalem when He knew that the people planned to kill Him?
  3. Who buried Jesus?
  4. Where was Jesus buried?
  5. How do we know that Jesus was really dead?
  6. How long was Jesus in the tomb?
  7. What happened to the stone at the door of the tomb?
  8. Why did Jesus rise from the dead?
  9. Why is it important for us to believe in Jesus' resurrec-tion?
  10. How do we know that Jesus arose from the dead?