Jesus the Corpse

Finishing up Mark 15 this morning. And if there’s anything the Spirit wants us to know through these post-crucifixion verses, it’s that Jesus was dead. Not mostly dead, not kinda dead, not somehow “less dead” because He was the Son of God, but dead dead.

Pilate was surprised to hear that [Jesus] should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether He was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that He was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking Him down, wrapped Him in the linen shroud and laid Him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid.

(Mark 15:44-47 ESV)

Jesus was dead and Pilate granted the corpse to Joseph. The corpse! Those two words hit me like a ton of bricks this morning.

Not new knowledge. But also not usually that first thing (or the next 10 or 20 things) that comes immediately to mind when I quiet myself, be still, and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10).

Jesus the Messiah, that comes to mind. Or, Jesus the Good Shepherd. Jesus the Rock of my salvation. Jesus the Way, the Truth, the Life. Jesus the coming King. Even Jesus the Lamb of God, the suffering Savior, the once forever atoning sacrifice. Those all find a place in my meditative thoughts much easier than does Jesus the Corpse.

What was it for the Son of Man to be dead? What was it for the Son of God who came in flesh to be found as lifeless flesh? Honestly, kind above my pay grade.

But I need to resist the inclination to “move on” from it too quickly. To think that, though “He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people”, He wasn’t really made like His brothers in respect to death. To think such a thing, I think, would be failing to fully grasp the depths of Jesus’ humiliation, the depths to which He humbled Himself in order to redeem His lost, rebellious creation.

. . . though He was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

(Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)

Jesus the Corpse. Doesn’t roll off the tongue too naturally. But sit and chew on it for a bit and it overwhelms the heart and soul completely.

Alas and did My Savior bleed, and did My Sovereign die? Alas, He did.

Unfathomable.

Such is grace. To God be the glory.

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