Following the Resurrection of Christ those who had so vehemently sought for His death were left with an Empty Tomb. The watchmen who had been assigned to guard the tomb were given large sums of money by the chief priests with instructions to say to anyone who asked, “His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept.” In Jewish culture today this belief is still “commonly reported among the Jews until this day,” as Matthew recorded in his day (Matthew 28:11-15). For a Jew to finally meet the Messiah the Old Testament Prophets foretold about is truly life-changing.
“I declare unto you the Gospel …
How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
And that HE was buried,
And that HE rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Follow in the footsteps of JESUS as sung and portrayed by Carroll Roberson in his music video, “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked.”
I declare unto you the Gospel,
How that Christ died for our sins;
That He was buried, And that He rose again.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
“The Lord is Risen Indeed” (Luke 24:34)
It is recorded in Scripture Abraham, his wife Sarah, their son Isaac with his wife Rebekah, their grandson Jacob and his wife Leah, were all buried in a cave in the field of Machpelah (Genesis 49:30-33). Moses’ sister, Miriam, was buried in Kadesh and his brother, Aaron, was buried in Mosera during the 40 years of wilderness wandering (Numbers 20:1; Deuteronomy 10:6). Moses was buried by God in a valley in the land of Moab (Deuteronomy 34:6), while Joshua was buried at Timnath-seral in Mount Ephraim (Joshua 24:30). Joseph was buried in Shechem (Joshua 24:32) and Samson between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of his father, Manoah (Judges 16:31).
There is significance to the mode of burying those who have died, for the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15 tells of how a seed that is planted in the ground springs forth to bear a new and much more vibrant life. “And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body.” Just as a small kernel of seed corn is planted in the ground resulting in a flourishing plant full of life, so a body is sown for the resurrection that is to come. “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body… As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
Upon Jesus’ death He was laid in a borrowed tomb only to rise again from the dead on the third day. Christ became the Firstfruit of the resurrection that is to come. More will follow on that Great Resurrection Day when the dead in Christ shall rise first and the corruptible, mortal bodies that have been planted will put on incorruption and immortality. It is then so shall all those who have trusted Christ as Savior will ever be with the Lord in their new, glorified bodies “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (I Peter 1:4).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope
By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
I Peter 1:3
Times were changing. The old was being replaced by the new. No longer would bulls and goats need to be sacrificed in the Temple as described in the Old Testament (Hebrews 10). As the New Testament opens John the Baptist declares while baptizing Jewish converts in the River Jordan, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” as Jesus made His way to the banks of the river. Although John requested Jesus baptize him, Jesus insisted John baptize Him to fulfill all righteousness. In this way Jesus was identifying with sinners who were trusting in Him for salvation.
As Jesus entered the water He demonstrated His death, burial and resurrection which was to come by being placed under the water and “straightway coming up out of the water” (Mark 1:10). There was no just splashing Him with water or sprinkling a few drops on Him. It was total immersion signifying dying to self, being buried with Christ and being risen again to walk in newness of life. Peter tells us in I Peter 3:21 baptism is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,” in other words the water is not for the washing away of sin, for only the blood of Jesus Christ is pure enough to do that. Baptism is a picture of identifying with Christ.
Just as the Jewish converts from Judaism who trusted Christ as the Promised Messiah took a bold step in following the Lord in believer’s baptism in spite of the pronouncements of the Temple rulers that those who did so would no longer be welcome in its synagogues, believers today upon placing their total faith and trust in Christ boldly identify with Him by dying to self, being buried in the baptismal waters, and coming up out of the water to walk with Him wherever He leads, just as Jesus portrayed for us.