SIXTEENTH LORD’S DAY.
Question 41. Why was he also “buried?”
Answer. Thereby to prove that he was really dead.
There are many causes on account of which Christ was buried :
1. He would be buried in confirmation of his death, that it might be manifest that he was truly dead; for not the living, but only the dead, are buried. Therefore, just as he presented himself after his resurrection to be seen, handled, &c., that there might be clear evidence that his body was raised from the dead, so after his death, he gave himself for the purpose of being felt and buried, that it might be known that he was a real corpse. There are some parts of the history of Christ s death that pertain to this, as that, when he was dead he was pierced with a spear, was taken down from the cross, was anointed, was wrapt in linen, &c.; for these also demonstrate the truth of his death. We are, therefore, by his burial, assured that he was really dead, and by this of our certain redemption; for our salvation consists in his death, the proof of which is his burial.
2. That the last part of his humiliation might be attained ; for this (viz., burial) was a part of the punishment, curse, and ignominy which we had merited, as it is said, “Unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:19.) A dead body is, indeed, destitute of feeling and understanding, yet it was ignominious that his body should be laid in the earth as another corpse. Therefore, as the resurrection of Christ from the grave is a part of his glory, so his burial, and interment among the dead, by which he was placed in the same condition with them, is a part of the humiliation and ignominy which he rendered on our account; for he was not unwilling to become a corpse for our sake.
3. He would be buried that we might not be terrified in view of the grave, but might know that he has sanctified our graves by his own burial, so that they are no longer graves to us, but chambers and resting places in which we may quietly and peacefully repose until we are again raised to life.
4. He was buried that it might be apparent, in view of his resurrection, that he had truly overcome death in his own body, and that by his own power he had thrown it off from himself, so that his resurrection was no apparition or imaginary thing, but was a real resuscitation of a corpse reanimated.
5. That we may be confirmed in the hope of the resurrection, as we, after his example, shall also be buried, and shall be raised again by his power; knowing that Christ, our head, has opened up the way for us from the grave to glory.
6. That we being spiritually dead may rest from sin. “We are buried with him by baptism into death ; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in new ness of life.” (Rom. 6:4.)
7. That the truth might correspond with the type of Jonah, and that the prophecies might be fulfilled in relation to the burial of the Messiah. “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.” “He made his grave with the wicked.” (Ps. 16:10. Isa. 53:9.)
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