The Garden Tomb
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. ~John 19:41
The idea of a garden brings to mind green grass, beautiful flowers, overhanging trees, and a peaceful setting. The Garden of Eden was, perhaps, the most beautiful garden setting ever on Earth. We are told of a garden setting close to where Jesus was crucified. In the setting of that garden was a cave that was owned by a man who had it prepared for his sepulchre when he was to die. This morning, let us visit this tomb that was the place where Jesus was laid.
We see the procurement.
“And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.” Up until the time Jesus died on the cross, Joseph did not openly share that he was a disciple of Christ. As Jesus was about to die, Joseph made it known that he identified with Jesus. He boldly requested to be granted the responsibility of being the caretaker for the burial of Jesus’ body. At a critical moment, Joseph proclaimed that he was faithful and fearless.
We see the preparation.
“And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” Together, Joseph and Nicodemus prepared Jesus’ body for burial. There were a lot of sobering thoughts that went through their minds as they took the body down, washed it, and wound it with linen clothes and spices. The thought that should grip us should be, “What will I do for Jesus that will be a most meaningful deed and have a lasting memory?”
We see the provision.
Joseph donated his unused tomb for the burial of Jesus. He wanted a proper burial place, and he gave the one he designated for his own burial. He gave what was new. He gave what was expensive. He gave what was clean and acceptable. Our giving to the Lord should be of our firstfruits. We should give the Lord our best and not what has been used. He gave a tomb that was in the setting of a garden. Only once is Joseph mentioned in Scripture, and it is connected with the donation of his tomb. All four Gospels record for us what Joseph did. I don’t think Joseph did this to be seen of men. He was moved in his devotion to do all that he could to honor the Lord.
We see the prophecy.
“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death” (Isaiah 53:9). Joseph ,in his devotion and donation, was fulfilling Bible prophecy. His gracious act was used of God to fulfill Scripture. We might not think of it, but each of us have an integral part in glorifying God and His Word through our obedience and acts of faith. Joseph did not expect recognition or remuneration from his deeds. H