What Does it Mean That Jesus Was Buried in a New Tomb?
Jan 1, 2018 10321
Sometimes we just have to dig a little to find beautiful meanings hidden just under the surface of the Bible. John 19:41 is one of those verses. It tells us that Jesus was buried in a “new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid” (NIV).
This is rather unusual, because the Jews used family tombs, which they reused over and over again for many generations. Hardly no one was ever buried in a “new tomb.” We know that Jesus was buried in the tomb of a very rich man of Joseph of Arimathea. However, even very wealthy people were not usually buried in new tombs, since they had their family tombs, which were never new. So, it is still unusual that Jesus was a new tomb.
Everyone who accepts Jesus’ death on their behalf will never end up in a tomb, but will have everlasting life (John 3:16). Jesus was laid in “a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid,” as a promise that if you believe in him, you will not end up being laid in a tomb either, but instead you will be risen to glorious, eternal life (1 Cor 15:20–23).
This highlights a very important spiritual truth for us: that just as Jesus was laid in a tomb in which no one had ever been laid, so too, he died a death which no one will ever die – if they accept his death in the place of their own. Jesus’ death was not a common death. No one has ever died from a broken heart of love for the sins of the world, and no one ever will – except Jesus. His death was certainly unique.
That’s why it says in 1 Cor 15:20 that,
Christ has been raised from the dead. He’s the first crop of the harvest of those who have died (CEB).
When you accept that it was in your tomb that Jesus lay, then you know that you too will rise from the dead.
Christ is the very first one. As the “author of salvation” (Heb 5:9), he was the first to be raised from the dead. After him will follow the great harvest of many resurrections of all those who believe in him. Jesus is also called the “pioneer” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). A pioneer is a trailblazer; someone who goes on ahead and opens the way so that many will follow. That’s exactly what Jesus did in the tomb of Joseph Arimathea. He went on before us to open up for us the way to life.
But we don’t achieve life by dying on a cross like Jesus did, or by being raised from the dead in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. No! Jesus did that “once for all” (Heb 7:27) as our representative (2 Cor 5:14).
He died your death. He suffered in your place. He won the victory on your behalf. That’s why Jesus was laid in “a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” Because no one else because no one had ever accomplished what he achieved, and no one ever will.
That means that instead of Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, it was your tomb in which Christ lay. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, it was your resurrection that he accomplished. It is so when you accept him as your substitute and representative.– Eliezer Gonzalez
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I think a more reasonable solution to the empty tomb and the sightings of Jesus is premature burial. Premature burial has abundant evidence of being real. There were even coffins made with windows so people could look inside to be sure the person was really dead. There were people that were exhumed from the grave where the body was in the fetal position with bloody fingernails and scratched and torn coffin interiors. Two thousand years ago there were no coroners reports and in the case of Jesus it was a soldier that made the determination, possibly confusing a coma with death. It was a doctor that took charge of Jesus' body and supposedly he would have knowledge of preventing blood loss and minimizing infection. Just saying that choosing between a miracle for which we have no reasonable evidence and premature burial for which there is some slight reasonable evidence, i go with the latter.
Mar 15, 2022
Hi Steve - I don't think that the premature burial/swoon theory is reasonable at all, as it just doesn't fit the facts. The death of Jesus was reported by Roman soldiers, who were professional executioners and their job was to certify the death of the deceased. They knew Jesus was already dead so they didn't even bother to break his legs, as was common practice to hasten death. Instead, they thrust a spear into his side. The blood and water that came out was medical proof that his heart had stopped beating and that he was dead. There is not a single person in all of history who is recorded as ever having survived crucifixion. For the premature burial theory to be feasible, you would need to accept that after multiple scourgings, crucifixion with its massive trauma and blood loos, more than 40 hours without food or water, Jesus somehow managed to unwrap himself from the grave bindings around his body, then in absolute darkness the managed to roll the 1–2 tonne stone uphill away from the inside of the tomb, with no hand-holds. Then in this severely weakened condition, Jesus had to travel untold miles to appear to hundreds of his disciples over a period of 40 days. None of this can be made to fit within the facts that we do know. – Eliezer