This is the sixth in a short series on Lent
“So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there” (John 19:42).
What are the implications of Jesus second day in the tomb? Does the silence of the tomb have something to tell us? On first reading it appears as if Jesus was just put there because it was close.
“So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.”
Joseph of Aramathea a non public follower of Jesus wanted to get the body and begin the burial process after Jesus crucifixion and before the Passover celebration began in full. He and Nichodemus took the body and hastily prepared it late Friday. They rushed to get it done. They were already ceremonially unclean by touching the dead body. They left Jesus body in the newly hewned tomb and left him there.
The context was that the Jewish passover was coming and they were running out of time. Late Friday evening began the Passover celebration since the evening before began the new religious day in Judaism that was based off of a lunar seasonal calendar. In other words if Passover is Saturday then it actually begins Friday at sunset. Jesus was crucified around midday on Friday. Passover happened to be a Saturday that year so Friday evening the devout followers of Jesus needed to do something with the body.
The silence of the tomb has something to tell us. Jesus body laying in that tomb is one of the greatest acts of divine irony in all of Scripture. The body was that of a peasant. Jesus had two natures a human one and a divine one. Jesus was a carpenter by trade before his unpaid itinerant ministry. Yet there laid the body of a man that could not afford a tomb of his own. Yet there also lied the body of Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The spirit that had for thirty years plus years indwelled that body was more beautiful than any other that has or will ever be. Jesus laid in that tomb in part so that we may identify with him in his humble humanity.
The majority of the populace of this planet are poor. I am not talking American poor. I am talking real poor. Malnutrition, homelessness, and disease that will lead to death for a large percentage of humanity’s death. Christ identifies with suffering. Good Friday is the ultimate illustration of that fact. Saturday is a solemn day. Some call it Easter Eve or Holy Saturday. Regardless of the name it is a day of death. Christ body spent one whole of its existence in a state of death. It was silent. The tomb was silent.
It is here in this silence that God made himself completely identifiable and relatable in every way to humanity as a whole. Jesus experienced sentience fully as a human in his birth, life, and death.
He faced and existed as a being separated from life for a full day. It says in Peter’s letter that for the Lord “a day is like a thousand years.” He experienced death in all its emptiness just as every other human faces it. His body was dead and his spirit was disjointed from its proper place. God was dead for one day in the history of reality.
The silence of the tomb was defying. Thankfully the story did not end there for Easter Day was coming.