Mark 15:42-47 – “Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. 45 So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.” NKJV
Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 12 that He was going to spend three days and nights in the heart of the earth the rise from the dead. Although they understood, they did not understand. The many prophecies regarding Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension had to be fulfilled, but I must ask, “Why Was Time in the Tomb Necessary?”
There are some far more accomplished in biblical commentary than I who can and have addressed this issue. Let me offer something that dropped into my heart as I contemplated this time of the year and the day the church identifies as “Good Friday.”
The disciples had demonstrated, up to the time of Jesus’ death on the Cross, that they still had not fully wrapped their heads around the Spiritual Kingdom. They were clinging to the hope of an earthly one. Deep inside, there was still a flicker of hope that Jesus was going to overthrow the Romans and establish an earthly kingdom in which Israel was restored. He tried to convey the truth to them, and they believed in Him, but their carnal minds still held to the desire for restoration in the natural world.
I believe it is possible to say that Jesus did not need to spend three days and nights in the heart of the earth for Himself. Therefore, if He spent time in the tomb, it must have been for our benefit. He could have died on the Cross, and aside from fulfilling the prophecies of rising from the dead after three days, Salvation would have been purchased. Once His blood touched the Mercy Seat in Heaven, Salvation was!
However, to confirm that He had truly died, spending three days in the tomb provided indisputable evidence that He was truly dead from the natural man’s view. Still, further, the ‘Time in the Tomb’ provided an opportunity for the disciples to grieve the death of their Natural Restoration Hope and allowed the Death of their Dream to grip them. They had believed in Jesus and hoped for the Natural Restoration of their nation, and now that hope was gone.
Looking back on the events, we call it Good Friday, but they would never have called that Friday Good! They saw nothing good on that day! The tomb was ever before them, signifying the death of their dreams. The time in the tomb provides the foundation upon which the Holy Spirit can take the seeds that have been sown in death and allow them to germinate into life. Had He not gone to the tomb and stayed there three days, the disciples might have continued their Natural Restoration Theology and never transitioned into the True Kingdom of God and might have become a hindrance rather than a powerful witness of the Gospel.
The Time in the Tomb was for mankind, and looking back, we can call it GOOD FRIDAY! It marked the death of a natural dream and the birth of a spiritual reality called the KINGDOM OF GOD! Sometimes in life, we need Time in the Tomb to ensure that only what rises is what God desires rather than persisting in pursuing the dreams that are the product of our own imaginations rather than the promise and purpose of God.
So on this GOOD FRIDAY, I pray that God will allow you to see the death of any dreams not of Him in your life. I pray that just as Jesus arose from the dead on that third day, may His purposes rise to power in your life as well.
May the LORD bless you richly and cause the reality and purpose of the Cross and Resurrection to explode in your hearts. THIS IS VICTORY!