Monday Bible Study (August 10, 2020)
CHRIST’S DEATH AND BURIAL ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES
This study focuses on Christ’s death and burial according to the Scriptures.
- THE VICARIOUS DEATH OF CHRIST JESUS
The vicarious death of Christ refers to His substitutionary death for the whole world. There are three things to note here:
(i). The substitutionary death of Christ
Mark 15:42-45; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Isaiah 53:6,8; Romans 5:8-11; 1 Peter 3:18
“Christ died for our sins” and not for Himself. He was not a sinner; He was pure, perfect, holy and faultless. Though Pilate and Herod did not find fault in Him during His trials, He was crucified. His death is copiously recorded in the Scriptures. His blood justifies us from the punishment that we should have borne because of our sins. Through His substitutionary death, everyone has the privilege of being reconciled to God.
(ii). The sanctifying death of Christ
Hebrews 2:9-11; 10:14-16; 13:12-14; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24
Christ became man in order to suffer and die to set us free from both outward and inward sins. Angels cannot die; so, He did not take their nature but He took ours “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man”. Christ’s death is not partial; it is not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. By the blood He shed at death, He sanctifies, cleanses, purges and makes the inner man free, implants His nature in us and puts His laws in our hearts. Sanctification gives us abundant life; it makes the believer a glorious Christian and the church a glorious assembly. It gives us the grace and willingness to shun and abstain from all appearances of evil.
(iii). The smashing death of Christ
Hebrews 2:14,15; Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 25:8; 2 Corinthians 1:10; Colossians 2:14,15; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 1:18
“The Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil”. Though Jesus has smashed the power of Satan through His death, fear still makes some people to sell their souls, spirit, personality, family and destiny to the devil. Christ always destroys all the power of darkness in the lives of those who come to Him and also takes away everything that hinders their pilgrimage to heaven.
- THE VIRTUOUS DEEDS OF THE COUNSELLOR, JOSEPH
“Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor”, was a secret disciple of Christ who loved and appreciated Him. He fulfilled Scripture prophecy by the great honour he accorded the crucified body of Christ. He did not allow his position to blur his view of the kingdom of God. We consider three things:
(i). His burial after death
Mark 15:45-47; Isaiah 53:8,9; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Acts 13:29,35-39
Christ “made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death”. Joseph of Arimathaea was rich and he asked for the body of Jesus which he buried in the tomb he had cut out from the rock for himself. “But… God raised [Him] again”. Everyone who accepts His death for humanity and surrenders to Him will be saved and have the witness of the Spirit in his heart that he has become a child of God.
(ii). Our baptism into His death
Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:10-12; Mark 16:16; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13
Believers identify with Christ’s death in baptism. Water baptism is not done by sprinkling water or making a sign of the cross on the head. It is not for infants who do not know about conversion but for those who have heard, known and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Water baptism must be by immersion in water.
(iii). The believer’s blessedness after death
Luke 23;42,43; 16:22-26; Acts 7:55-59; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:21-23
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom”. When a believer dies, he goes immediately to be with the Lord in heaven – a place of rest, peace and joy. He does not hibernate somewhere or roam about. The body of the thief on the cross did not go to paradise; it was taken down and buried. But his spirit and soul went to be with Christ in paradise. He was the first person to get to heaven after Christ’s death.
- THE VALIANT DISCIPLESHIP OF THE CHRISTIAN, JUSTIFIED
The good deeds of Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were commendable but their unwillingness to openly confess Christ is undesirable. However, we can learn the following from their story:
(i). The cowardice of secret discipleship
John 19:38; 12:42; Proverbs 29:25; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:4-9
People who hide their love for God for fear of losing their family, position and profession are cowards. “Because of the Pharisees [Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus] did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue”. The Lord wants us to confess Him openly and not be ashamed of Him in order to keep our position, honour or title. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels”.
(ii). The company of a sneaking disciple
John 19:39; 3:1-12; 7:48-53; 2 Corinthians 6:17,18; Revelation 18:4
As believers, we must profess and confess Christ, and identify with Him in the public. We must “come out” of any group of people who commit sin so that we will “receive not of [their] plagues”.
(iii). Our continuation with steadfast devotion
John 19:40; Luke 22:28,29; Acts 1:9-14; 2:40-42; 14:22; Colossians 1:22,23; Revelation 2:26-29
After Apostle Peter’s preaching, the three thousands “that gladly received his word… continued stedfastly…” The truth about the imminence of Christ’s return should make us to identify and continue with Him to the end. The Lord will grant steadfast, devoted, abiding, consecrated and faithful disciples great blessings and rewards in life and in eternity.