THE BURIAL OF CHRIST

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also I have received, and wherein ye stand. By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you fires of all that which I also received, 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."
(I Corinthians 15: 1-3)

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The gospel Paul received and preached contained three parts: The death burial and resurrection, of Jesus Christ. All three parts were according to, (in fulfillment of) the Old Testament scriptures. Preachers of the gospel have much to say about the death of Christ and His resurrection, but little is said about His burial. The mystery of the gospel is resident in the triunity of these facts. Christ's physical death becomes good news when we understand it was the sacrifice of His own soul. Oh, that we might comprehend the depth of the love of God and the submission of Christ, to His Father’s will! How little is known about that great central truth of the gospel, the burial of Christ. Hear Paul’s words: "....He also descended first into the lower parts (divisions) of the earth." (Ephesians 4:9) and "Who shall descend into the deep (abussos) .... that is to bring Christ up again from (among) the dead?" (Romans 10:7) Let us meditate on this truth of God: Christ’s soul descended into the lower parts of the earth and God wonderfully kept His promise not to "....leave His soul in Hell (Hades) or suffer His holy One to see corruption." (Acts 2:28)

How little the religious world really knows about the ransom--the real price--the real offering for sin: Christ's soul! In Isaiah 53:10 and 12, God twice says that Christ's soul, was the offering for sin, for He had declared, "The soul that sinneth, it (the soul) shall die." This was the fear Jesus spoke of when He said, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) This verse sheds much light on the agony and terror of Jesus’ soul in Gethsemene and gives understanding to Hebrews 5:7. Speaking of Christ our high priest after the order of Melchisedec we read, "Who in the days of his flesh when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him (out) from (within) death, and was heard, in that he feared....." He prayed to be saved from death and His prayer was heard, yet he died the physical death of the cross. It was the death of His soul that He feared. In using the word offered, the great sacrificial word, we see our great high priest bringing a drink offering before the altar of the cross. In Gethsemene, Jesus poured out His will unto the eternal will of His Father. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:8, "And being found in fashion as a man, He (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of a cross." He submitted to such a death, knowing full well that the cross represented the curse of God. That curse, was plainly spiritual death--outer darkness--Hell--all that belonged to the deserving sinner and enemy of God--ultimate separation from the light and life of God. In His submission, Jesus learned obedience through suffering and made Calvary acceptable, to God the Father in our behalf.

Read again, the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. Meditate deeply on Genesis 22:13; "...And Abraham lifted up His eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son." There, God gave a prophesy about that event; in another mount of the Lord, that same drama would be fulfilled. That prophetic mount was Calvary. That Son about to be slain was me, you and every sinner. That Ram was the object of John the Baptist's affections when he cried, "Behold, the lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) That death at Mount Moriah and later seen fulfilled at Calvary's Mount, was sin laid on the substitute and taken away by the soul of Christ. Think often and prayerfully about these words: the substitute was offered in the stead of his son. The knife that was meant to cut the throat of Isaac, cut the throat of God’s provision, the innocent Ram. The blood that should have flowed from Isaac's veins, became a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins. The fire that would have reduced Abraham's darling son to ashes, left the smoldering ashes of the Ram on the altar. When Isaac stood looking at the dying embers of that fire, and smelled the burning flesh of the Ram, he could rightly say, "There is my death for all that was mine, He bore in my stead. He was made all that I am, that I might be made all that He is."

I stand at Mount Calvary and see the pit--the flames--the outer darkness. I hear the weeping--the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I feel the loneliness, the fear of eternal death and the eternal banishment from the presence of a Holy God. As this awesome scene is set before me, my heart cries, "All of it was mine, but Jesus died for (in the stead) of me--ungodly, wretched sinner that I was and am!" Calvary is the wages of my sin and His cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" I hear God affirm, "I have not spared (dealt leniently) with my own Son, but delivered Him up for you. If this is not what Calvary means to you, then you have missed the great truth of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. If physical death and glorious resurrection is the only fate of the sinner, then what is there to the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth? If there is no burial in your gospel, then God’s word concerning the wages of sin is meaningless, and His righteousness will never be declared.

Dear reader, it is true: Christ died for our sins, was buried with them and arose without them! If you believe the record God gave of His Son your sins were banished from the camp. See that scapegoat disappear yonder into the wilderness? He bore your sins and will never bring them back, nor will they ever be remembered against you. Hallelujah!!! What a mighty fortress is our God who dealt with sin on its own ground and defeated death by putting it to death in the soul of His Son. No wonder we are assured by God’s holy word, that the second death will have no effect on us who have fled for refuge beneath that crimson flood. We were placed in Christ at Calvary. When He died, we died. When God raised Jesus Christ from among the dead, he raised us. When He received Him into heaven holy and without sin, He received us. Jesus has taken us into His Father’s house that we might be where and as, He, is, Amazing grace!!!

H.L. Roush, Sr.

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