The thing about Jesus’ death that hits the modern world the theory that Jesus didn’t really die. That Jesus was actually comatose or fainted for several days was propagated a long time ago by people who wanted to remove the miracles from Jesus life or come up with some natural explanation for them. There are several things that stand against this idea namely that the Romans we so notoriously efficient at dealing death. The Roman cohort assigned to Pilate were veterans and the centurion himself would have had to kill hundred of enemies to get that title. These guys knew death when they saw it. To top it all off the spear in the side would have surely killed Jesus had the crucifixion not done so. The water and blood speak of a ruptured heart. Jesus was fully and truly dead.
This has significance for more than a defense of the faith or the power of the resurrection later. It actually has a redemptive significance as Paul points out in Romans 6:1-7. The idea that as Christ was dead and buried so our old man is buried with him in salvation and raised to newness with life. Jesus’ burial guarantees the burial of our old selves to prepare us for new life through his resurrection.
The care of Jesus’ body indicates a normal understanding of life’s end. In fact the narrative of the story to this point could belong to any man. Man is born, man lives and man dies. It is at this point that Jesus has truly experienced everything we as human being go through. He is now laid in a tomb to remain until he rots like anyone else. The problem was he was not like anyone else.
There are two things that separate Jesus from any other person that has died and been buried. 1) He lived a sinless life and 2) He was God’s only begotten son. It is these two distinctions that make his burial to be more of a planting a seed of something that will bring new life rather than a time of finality to a life lived. The potential because of these two thing waits like a coiled spring ready to explode. But that is the story for next Sunday.