The Burial of Jesus
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Many people in the body of Christ fail to understand the importance of the burial of Jesus. This is because most Christians don’t understand what death really is. Death is not ceasing to exist. It is simply a separation. When a person dies, his spirit and soul separate from the body, but all three parts still exist. The spirit and the soul of the human being are still very much alive and vibrant.
Christians often picture Jesus in a state of nothingness during the three days that He was buried. This simply is not the case. When Jesus left His body, He was ushered into the pit of hell to take your place and mine in suffering the agony of death. But because He was righteous and had known no sin, the demons in hell could not hold Him. For without sin, they had no authority over Him. The Bible says that Jesus stripped the devil of all of his authority and that He made a show of him openly in front of all of those present in the pit of hell. He took the keys of death and Hades from Satan. Jesus was and is victorious, even over death.
When we were baptized, we were buried with Jesus in His burial. This process identifies us with all that He did during these three dark days. The Word of God tells us that Jesus put our sin to death on the cross in His flesh. We are beginning to understand that, but we must also see that in His burial, He eradicated our sins. He delivered them to the darkest regions of creation. Surely He carried our sickness, our sorrow, our pain, our disease, and our sin. He carried them to a desolate place.
When I was a teenager in Iowa, I worked on the farms. I carried buckets full of water and grain to the livestock. Never once did I carry these heavy buckets to their destination only to carry them back still full. The same is true about Jesus. He carried our sins and dumped them. Jesus hurled our sins into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered again.
What else transpired during the burial of Jesus? The Word of God gives us another glimpse in First Peter. The Bible tells us that Jesus went to the bosom of Abraham and preached to those who had been held there for so long. He led those who had faith in His train to the wonderful new life. This is confirmed in the book of Ephesians. In His resurrection, He was surrounded by those whom He delivered out of the bosom of Abraham. The word of God says that He was surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
Remember that death isn’t a state of non-existence. Jesus didn’t lay dormant for three days in the sleep of death. He was still very busy about the Father’s business. He suffered the agony of the pit of death for you and for me. He carried our sins to a place of forgetfulness. He stripped the devil of all authority and took from him the keys to death and Hades. He preached to those who were being held in the bosom of Abraham and set them free in His resurrection. Jesus’ burial is an awesome event in the history of humanity. During His burial, Jesus was at war with the devil and He emerged from death victorious. Jesus’ burial was a miraculous event! Jesus demonstrated His authority and power. What an awesome Lord we serve!
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.
1 Peter 3:18-20
This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”