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April 1, 2021 4:00 am
These hypocrites meet on the Sabbath with an unclean Gentile, and they want to stop this deceiver from a worse deception, fake resurrection, so they seal up the tomb so no one can possibly have access to it and it's under Roman guard and therefore they set up the only possible explanation.
Trial and torture would anger you and it is paying the price of our guilt on the cross would humble you to the core.
But what about his burial anything about that.
That should capture your attention will today on grace to you.
John MacArthur will show you the supernatural nature of Christ's burial.
It's part of a study designed to deepen your understanding of the most important event in history. The title of this study, the divine drama of redemption and out with the lesson here is John MacArthur. Let's open the word of God, then to the 15th chapter of the wonderful Gospel of Mark. We all understand the importance of the cross, the priority of the cross.
The wonder of the cross. The miraculous nature of the death of our Lord and we also are very well aware of the resurrection. Even though we haven't arrived yet edited Mark's gospel. We understand its massive and eternal implications.
Those are two very very significant marks in the life and ministry of Christ.
There is one. However, in the middle of them between the cross and the resurrection that is equally monumental. Although it is usually overlooked is the burial of Jesus. Maybe you've never even thought about that. It had human elements but was no last supernatural then what was happening at the cross or the resurrection. There are two ways that God operates supernaturally in the world. Number one is by miracles. Miracle is the means by which God accomplishes his purpose and does so by interrupting or suspending or overruling the natural order of things. That's a miracle. It is an invasion. It is an interruption.
It is an overturning of what is normal and what is natural. There is another way in which God accomplishes his will, not miraculous but nonetheless supernatural. In fact, if you will, even more evidently supernatural. Even more amazing than a miracle. This we call Providence, Providence, Providence is an old theological word that is used to explain the fact that God accomplishes exactly what he plans purposes promises prophesies and he does it without interrupting without suspending without overturning the natural course of things he does it by pulling together and orchestrating all the free behaviors of all people, all contingencies all events all actions and all reactions. The constant astounding wisdom and power of God in Providence operates every millisecond and is seen dramatically in the amazing outcomes that always fit perfectly. God's purpose and God's promise, and that's what you're going to see the burial of Christ. There are some people doing things around the burial of Christ.
There are the neutral soldiers there are the loving saints and the hateful religious leaders there all motivated by their own responsibilities their own responses.
They do what they choose to do because it's in their mind and by their will, that they do it, but when it's all said and done, it accomplishes precisely the will of God. This is a great illustration of how Providence works all the time. Let's start then with the neutral soldiers. The indifferent soldiers and see how divine Providence works with them in before we get to the passage in Mark I want you to go to the 19th chapter of John's Gospel because we need to add a word from John and then a word from the Matthew and throw in a few from Luke along the way the story of the burial has to begin in the 19th chapter of John in verse 30 we find this statement, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. At about 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon in April of A.D. 30 Jesus gave up his life. He gave up his spirit.
In John 1017 and 18. He said no one takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself. When Jesus gave up his life. The two thieves, one on each side were still alive.
Verse 32 John 19 the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and the other who was crucified with him, why did they break their legs because they were still alive and they wanted to hasten their death, but when it came to Jesus.
They didn't break his legs because he was already dead. It could have been expected that all three of them may have survived into the second day in the third day, but there was a problem. The Jews wanted Jesus dead. Look at verse 31 it is Friday, the day of preparation for the Sabbath so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, and particularly on that Sabbath, which was a high day they asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. They don't want those bodies to defile their Sabbath.
The very selective about their defilements our day there killing the son of God, and they also managed to enter Pilate's praetorian they've gone to Pilate and asked him to do this and you remember earlier, they wouldn't go in.
They stayed outside so they wouldn't defile themselves at the trial of Jesus. Now they've gone in. They want those bodies down there, pernicious hypocrites, murdering the son of God, but then removing the bodies so as to scrupulously avoid any traditional ceremonial defilement. Now, if somebody didn't die. How would you hasten their death. They had a means that means was called crusader Frank Hume. This is how it worked. A person hanging on the cross. 1 foot across the other one nail through would survive as long as that person could push up with his leg so that he could receive oxygen into his lungs or pull up with the wounds on his hands so that he could breathe when the person could no longer do that person would be asphyxiated so the means of very rapid death was take a massive iron mallet and crushed the femurs both legs. The body within hang limp be unable to breathe in. The victim would die combination of partly shock and partly blood loss but mostly asphyxiation a gruesome horrible death. The Jewish leaders say we want that done and we want that done to all three of verse 32 then says the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and the other who was crucified with him two thieves coming to Jesus when they saw that he was already dead. They didn't break his legs. Why was he dead. He was dead because he gave up his own life he willed himself dead. How did it actually happen. What was the pathology of his death, verse 34 might give us a hint. One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. This is just to be absolutely certain and immediately blood and water came out under certain stressful circumstances. The heart can actually burst causing blood to spill into the pericardium mixed with lymphatic fluid. Apparently that's what happened. Jesus literally willed his own heart to burst some 6920 says reproach has broken my heart, ruptured my heart. So what's the importance of this importance of it is given to us by John in verse 35 to 37 and he who has seen has testified this is John referring to himself and his testimony is true, he was there right I am telling you the truth I saw with my own eyes. He was dead, they did not break his legs and they did pierced his side. That is, eyewitness testimony and that is important.
Verse 36 and 37 for these things came to pass, to fulfill the Scripture. The first scripture was Psalm 3420 which said not a bone, of him shall be broken wow why because Exodus 1246 and numbers 912, say the Passover lamb can not have a broken limb. You couldn't offer to God a lamb with a broken limb nor would Jesus, the true Passover lamb of a broken bone.
This happened to fulfill that prophecy and verse 37. Again, another Scripture says and this is Zechariah 1210. They looked on him whom they pierced. Which is to say that the Messiah would also be pierced the actions of the soldiers the witless in different neutral soldiers on the body of Christ were actions that they did by virtue of their own will and their own motives and the impulses of their own minds.
And yet were under divine control to authenticate Scripture related to the Messiah to the very letter and establish the veracity of Scripture, the deity of Christ. The reality of his Messiah ship. Now let's go back to Mark. We go from the indifferent soldiers to the loving saints. This is a magnificent portion of Scripture for its pathos and compassion. Verse 42, an evening at already come. Jesus had just died about three in the afternoon.
Back in verse 39 he breathed his last. Verse 42 says evening has come.
It's late in the afternoon. It's the preparation date still Friday, the day before the Sabbath Sabbath doesn't start till the sun goes down around six.
The three are dead.
Thieves have had their femurs smashed.
Jesus was already dead floodwaters seeping. Perhaps from inside. Verse 43 says, a man came named Joseph of Arimathea here's the interesting thing about it is a prominent member of the Council will he's a prominent member of the Council. He's a member of the Sanhedrin. It's so notable that Matthew mentions him and Luke mentions him and John mentions him as well. As Mark and this is his only appearance anywhere in Scripture, the story is brief, but the story is full and it's wonderful story of salvation and unexpected testimony of faith in Christ by a member of the Sanhedrin set against the rejection of that Supreme Court of Israel and the whole nation. He was a good and righteous man.
Same word used in referring to Jesus as a righteous man. Jesus was righteous by his own righteousness. Joseph was righteous, because the righteousness of God had been credited to him. One was righteous by nature. The other was righteous by grace. He was a true believer.
He had come to believe that Jesus was the one promised.
In fact, I love this. In verse 43 it says he was waiting for the kingdom of God. He was waiting for the kingdom of God. That's a true Jew who understood the Old Testament promise of salvation and the kingdom in the correct way and was waiting for the kingdom to come and had come to the conviction that the kingdom had come because the king had arrived and the king was no other than Jesus, but he understands the price if the acknowledges this publicly. So at first he's keeping it quiet. However, in Luke 2351 it says he had not consented to their plan of action. He has to be heartbroken because he thought Jesus would be the one to usher in all the Old Testament promises, but he loves Jesus and out of the love of his heart. Sympathy and compassion.
He's willing to acknowledge that he has been a disciple of Jesus.
They knew and he knew they would know he gathered up the courage courage to be exposed to the Sanhedrin and also courage to be exposed to Pilate who was going to execute this man and he went in before power, by the way, that verb together.
Courage means exactly that today are and he asked for the body of Jesus. Verse 44 Pilate wondered if he was dead. By this time he assumes that he's not going to be dead and he summoned the centurion and questioned him as to whether he was already dead and ascertaining this from the centurion grabbed the body to Joseph. What is Joseph going to do what he do did he go to the crucifixion site really needed and the date laid across on the ground and was a Joseph pulled his feet through the mail and pulled his wrists through the nails wasn't Joseph who pulled the crown of thorns office head was he doing this.
Why is he exposing himself for a dead person who can't fulfill everything he hoped what motivated him while you might say, humanly speaking, that he was motivated by his love for Jesus.
Certainly, he was motivated to give honor to Jesus.
So from a human perspective, there were things working on him that made him do this but that's not really what's going on here he is in his own freedom and his own independent motive in action doing what he wants to do, but in the end he's fulfilling God's will. Isaiah 53, nine says that the one who was bruised for our iniquities of the one who was led as a sheep to the slaughter, the Lord Jesus Christ, that great 53rd chapter of Isaiah. It says his grave was planned to be with the wicked. That's what Isaiah prophesied his grave was planned to be with the wicked it would be thrown like the rest of the refuse, like the rest of the criminals on the fires in the dump but is it 53, nine says his grave turned out to be with the rich.
I say no that that it would be planned to be with the wicked, and he would die rather than be buried with the rich what you doing he's being moved along by divine power. He's moving at divine speed.
It's not just about an honorable burial for Christ. It's about getting him off the cross in the grave on Friday so that he's there Friday, Saturday and Sunday because he promised he would be three days in the heart of the earth.
Matthew 12 verse 40 Son of Man be three days three nights in a day and a night is simply a Jewish way to referred any part of the 24 hour period. He will be there for three days.
That meant that Jesus had to be buried before the Sabbath began at sundown and after taking him down.
Cleaning off the blood and sweat in the dirt he would've wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock must've been an absolute wrenching experience for him. We keep reading about him, but by himself here but there's another unlikely lover of Jesus who shows up back John 19 verse 38 the after these things. Joseph of Arimathea being a disciple of Jesus, a secret one for fear of the Jews asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. Pilate granted permission, so he came and took away his body there, that's true, took down he took it away but verse 39 Nicodemus Nicodemus remember him. Yeah, the one who came to Jesus by night and had the discussion about being born again. Nicodemus who had first come to him by night also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 100 pounds weight that volume would be fit for a king.
But we've had a thief saved. We've had a some Roman soldiers saved in repetitive Sanhedrin member. Now we got according to John three the teacher in Israel, Nicodemus, another follower of Christ to somewhere between John three and John 19 was born again and they laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock in Matthew 2760 says it was Joseph's own tomb and Matthew says in that same passage verse 57 that he was a rich man. He was a rich man.
I can't even comprehend what they were thinking the sadness of those moments in the price they would pay for public disclosure of their love for Christ.
After they had placed them there the end of verse 46-year-old stone against the entrance of the tomb. Verse 47 ends this passage with a comment that so important, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph's who are mentioned. By the way back in verse 40 as being there at the crossmember.
They started out near the cross and eventually they moved far away looking on from a distance. Verse 40 says will there still there when Joseph shows up to take the body there still there morning in sadness paralyzed by the disappointment there still there and when they see Joseph this man they don't know take the body. They don't know what's going on. They followed verse 47. They were looking on to see where he was like they followed Joseph as he took the body to the nearby grave very near Golgotha. Luke by the way, adds that Joanna was there and others were there and we have the name of Salomé back in verse 40. This is the group of women you remember I told you followed him from Galilee and had been loving disciples of Jesus. There's one other group and it's just a brief comment will suffice. Matthew 27 the hated leaders they made a serious miscalculation serious miscalculation. They were worried that the disciples were to come and steal his body to make it look like he rose from the dead, so they want to make sure they couldn't do that. Verse 62 on the next day, the day after the preparation that's on the Sabbath, the chief priest, the Passover Sabbath and the Pharisees gathered together the pilot. Wow there defiled again and they said, sir, we remember that when he was still alive that deceiver said after three days I'm to rise again therefore give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal him away and say to the people he is risen from the dead. The last deception will be worse than the first.
Pilate said to them, you have a guard game.
Soldiers go make it as secure as you know how it went out made the grave secure along with the guard set a seal on the stone Frank. It'd been better off to leave the thing open. Then there could have been all kinds of explanations as those his body that they could discredited the resurrection.
What they did was they made it impossible for the body to be stolen and consequently, when the resurrection occurred. The only explanation was a resurrection. These hypocrites who don't want a dead body to defile their Sabbath meet on the Sabbath with an unclean Gentile, and they want to stop this deceiver from a worse deception of fake resurrection so they seal up the tombstone. No one can possibly have access to it and it's under Roman guard and therefore they set up the only possible explanation when using their euros from the dead, all these features of his burial show the providential power of God. That's grace to you with John MacArthur.
He is chancellor of the Masters University in seminary and you'll hear more from him in a moment, but his current study is titled the divine drama of redemption John one fact that I'm reminded of when we hear a lesson like today's lesson based on a story that involves Jewish customs and traditions that we might not be familiar with its effect that we are so far removed from the ancient culture in which scripture was written that it's easy to miss important details that really bring this story to life. So it's all about context isn't well absolutely because were trying to close a 2000 year gap at the least, and more effort in the Old Testament. So in order to understand what those words meant when they were written, we have to go back and reconstruct the historical realities of the time that really for me is the joy of Bible study. It's going back to the original text. The original time the original language and identifying all those elements that led to a proper understanding of that passage.
At that time because whatever it meant, then it means now so in order not to just rip it out of history and pulled into the modern era and make it mean something.
God didn't intend. You've got to restructure all that history that is the wonderful adventure that that's the access disorder biblical Explorer role that I love so much. We've always wanted to give everyone tools to be able to do that and up the most useful tool because it's all wrapped up in one volume would be a copy of the MacArthur study Bible.
MacArthur study Bible has 25,000 notes or so that give you these kinds of historical explanations and background of the notes will tap into culture, geography, language of social structure social customs that you would miss in a very casual reading so you read the text to go to the bottom of the page and there's a whole lot of information to help you reconstruct the setting that's what leads to an accurate understanding of the meaning of the word of God filling in those gaps is really very very important, certainly for hard understand passages but it really for any passage in the Bible. If you don't have a copy of the MacArthur study Bible, you need to get when it comes a new American Standard new King James ESV comes in Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic, German, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese horses, some of the Portuguese. One of the astronauts that we know has a ministry passing Portuguese MacArthur study Bibles out from a boat on the Amazon River in Brazil when incredible ministry so that this Bible has been a tool all over the world.
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The study Bible also comes in hardcover softcover leather premium goatskin and again to order your MacArthur study Bible, call 855 grace or you can view all the firstname.lastname@example.org that the website take advantage of all the other resources that are there for you have a question about how best to serve God or to honor your spouse in your marriage or maybe a question about sovereign election or how to deal with the trials you face or how to minister to a loved one who is suffering all kinds of issues like that, and countless others. You will find biblical answers in the grace to use sermon archive. We have 3500 full-length sermons all available for free download right now either in audio or transcript format and or website one more time. TTY.org now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and be here tomorrow for the Good Friday message that looks ahead to the amazement at the empty tomb. Don't miss the next 30 minutes of unleashing God's true one verse at a time on race