He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in His death,
though He had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in His mouth.

This Sunday, Erik Thoennes will preach to us from the Gospel of Mark, as it holds us in suspense for one final sermon.

Nothing that happened during the Passion of our Lord caught heaven by surprise. So much of it had been predicted in the pages of Scripture. But where were Jesus’ disciples and followers? A disfigured corpse, He lay abandoned by everyone – even His Father. Enter Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus and a wealthy man with influence and access to high places. A deal with Pilate was struck, a plot of land was readied, and Jesus was buried and a heavy stone rolled over the entrance. The next day, Pilate was approached by the chief priests and Pharisees.

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”

So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. MATTHEW 27:63-66

In the hymn Christ Arose, Robert Lowry points out the ludicrous security measures and presumption of the religious leaders.

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus, my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Lord!

Death cannot keep his Prey,
Jesus, my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord!

Centuries earlier, David had predicted the same moment and its glorious outcome.

You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
PSALM 16:10

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

By John Piper


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