Week 6: Jesus is Buried
Scripture Reference: Matthew 27:57-66
Monday Prayer: He was betrayed, unjustly tried, beaten, mocked and crucified. He died a criminal’s death on the cross, and he was taken down and buried in a tomb. It seemed as though all hope had been lost. The long awaited Messiah was dead, and there was nothing left for the people to do. I can’t imagine the fear that must have overtaken the hearts of Jesus’ followers. If you have ever been to a burial service, then you can understand the finality of the event. As the casket is lowered into the ground, you know that you will never see your lost loved one’s face again. Dirt is shoveled into the grave, and that’s it.
Because we stand on this side of the resurrection, we know that it wasn’t the last time Jesus’ followers would gaze upon his face. Three days later, Jesus would rise up from the grave, crushing sin and death to pieces. This is the moment that we have been anticipating throughout this entire Lenten season. This is why Easter gatherings are so celebratory! But before we get there, we need to remind ourselves of what happened when Jesus died and was buried. Paul, a missionary in the early church, writes in his letter to the Colossians: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13-14). Jesus the Messiah made us alive. He nailed our debt to the cross and forgave all of our sins. This is the wonder of God’s love for us! This is why people put up John 3:16 signs at football games! Our sin has been forgiven. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus means that if we “confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, WE WILL BE SAVED” (Rom. 10:9). Salvation is a thing that we can grab hold of through faith in Jesus Christ, and it is the message that we need to proclaim to a dying world. We discussed a number of things over the past 6 weeks, all of which are massively important: loving the disenfranchised and the marginalized, serving the needs of the poor, giving of ourselves for the sake of others. But if we fail to proclaim Christ crucified and risen for the forgiveness of our sins, then all of it is a waste of time. Take some time today to pray for those in your life who do not know Jesus. Pray that they would repent of their sin, put their faith in Jesus and follow him. The Gospel is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Live in light of this truth, and proclaim it to the world!