Yet Another Prophecy Fulfilled
Text: Matthew 27 : 32 - 66
The burial of Jesus fulfilled another prophecy. Let us ponder over this prophetic statement found in the Book of Isaiah.
“He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked –
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence;
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”
Let us stand in awe at the way the prophetic Scripture was fulfilled.
1. “Prison and judgment”
Jesus did not serve a prison sentence. It was usual for people to first be interred in prison before their crucifixion. The two robbers who were crucified with Jesus would be a classic case in point. But not with reference to Jesus for He was judged, sentenced and crucified all within a few hours!
2. “Cut off from the land of the living”
The life of Jesus may indeed be described as being abruptly cut off from the land of the living. Everything had moved so swiftly against Him. In His prime of life He was cut off from the land of the living.
3. “For the transgressions of My people He was stricken”
We are reminded that Jesus was fulfilling God’s plan of redemption. Yes, He was “stricken” – but it was for transgressions of sinners that He suffered as He did.
4. “No violence… nor any deceit in His mouth”
Jesus was innocent! Pilate proclaimed this fact to all in his court. He had found nothing in Jesus worthy of any punishment, let alone capital punishment.
5. “They made His grave with the wicked – but with the rich at His death…”
This was a special and cryptic way of writing about the death and the burial of Jesus. The writing in normal circumstances should have read that He died with the wicked, but buried with the rich. Instead, it was written as it was – with a strange twist.
The meaning of the text is clear notwithstanding the special and cryptic way of writing this prophetic word. It was literally fulfilled by Joseph of Arimathea (and Nicodemus).
Matthew carefully recorded many details concerning the suffering and the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It should not surprise us that he also took time to describe the burial of his beloved Teacher.
“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man
from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also
become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked
for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body
to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped
it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which
he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against
the door of the tomb, and departed.”
John added the fact that Nicodemus was also present when Joseph went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus for burial.
“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus,
but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he
might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him
permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.
and Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night,
also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes,
about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus,
and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom
of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified
there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which
no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus,
because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”
There were a number of things that confirm for us that these two men, particularly Joseph of Arimathea, were wealthy.
1. By plain statement
Matthew was a former tax collector. He would certainly know if a person could be labelled “a rich man”.
2. Other evidences
How many people could afford to have a tomb in a garden all ready for the day of death? Joseph of Arimathea was wealthy enough to own a well designed garden tomb. It even had a special stone door to prevent tomb robbers. He also had direct access to Pilate and that certainly would not be possible without being a man of means and influence.
The burial of Jesus also fulfilled the Scriptures! God had looked into every detail.