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From the Word: John 19:38–42
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Second Article
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!
Pulling It Together: The way you know a person is really dead, is if he ends up getting buried. Jesus died. That is why they buried him. We confess with the Scriptures that Jesus was so truly dead that they buried him. This means that they spent the little time yet available to them to prepare the body before burial. His lifeless body was taken down from the cross and made ready for the grave by rubbing the body with spices and wrapping it in cloths. Using these spices would have covered the stench of expected decay. Having taken the time to prepare the corpse is another sign that Jesus was dead—so very dead that they embalmed him and laid him to rest.
We confess that Jesus died and was buried, because he would soon rise from the dead. When he walks from the tomb and greets Mary three days hence, we can say that this Christ who now lives, had been dead and laid in a tomb. First, however painful it is to say, we must admit that Jesus suffered, was crucified, truly died, and was buried.
Prayer: Lord of life, having been baptized into your death, we give you thanks that we now face our own graves with expectation of the life to come. Amen.
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Saints and Sinners, Witnesses to the Faith, is the first in a three-volume series on saints and sinners in the New Testament who were powerful witnesses to faith in Christ. May this study of saints and sinners enrich your understanding of life with Christ and encourage you in discipleship.