An extension of the wider mercy view of salvation. What you need to know!
THE RELENTLESS PLIGHT OF THE SMALL CHURCH
As I sit here writing this post, I have a great sense of sadness within my heart for those small churches that have been “surviving” for years. Not growing; very little if any outreach into the community, and often faced with a minimal budget. You know the type of church I am referring to if you live in a small-town community. The kind of church you walk into that has 25 or fewer people attending, predominantly grayed-haired and generally physically limited. Usually, only one or two children are present, and often not even that!
I have been privileged to serve in churches with 150, 75, 50, and even 3 people attending. Conversations with these people often become memories of “how it used to be.” They reminisce about the congregation’s size in the past, how uplifting the worship once was, the ministry that proceeded from their church, and all the children that used to be there. And the greatest common denominator I have found between churches of 25 or fewer people is the desire to grow and be active again.
Over the years, I have talked with several leaders within those churches. I have had dialogue with various members within those churches as well, and what I have found is that while their current state of affairs profoundly saddens them, and while they acknowledge their despair at things not getting any better, they will not consider closing the doors and blessing another likeminded ministry or attending another local church! What I mean by “leaders” is the one or two in the congregation that have taken on the vast majority of responsibilities to hold it all together.
I have invested so much of my ministry in churches like these, and it has always grieved me to watch a young couple with children enter the church and, to their dismay, find out there are only several much older people here, and there is no children’s program to offer them. They don’t come back.
At this stage of the game, you can only feel sadness for them. They love the Lord and want to serve Him and help the church grow, but physically and, sadly, often mentally, they can’t invest themselves as they would like anymore. They don’t want to start over somewhere else, “to old for that,” they’ll say, so this church is their only option. Plan A, no other plans on the table.
So, there are several possible reasons why these churches find themselves in their current situations. First, it could simply be that as the future unfolded, wars came and went, and those young people did not return to their communities. In Pennsylvania, where I lived in a coal town full of life back in the day due to anthracite coal mining, a church I served in as an interim pastor had a congregation of over 125 people if I remember correctly. But ww2 and the over-regulation of the coal industry began to bring sweeping changes to these communities. Changes that they have not been able to recover from.
Sometimes a church has a bad history. Something in that church fostered a split, and the church has not recovered. Many reasons exist for possible explanations as to how some churches find themselves in their current state of affairs.
But other factors seem to keep these struggling churches in a rut, with seemingly less hope of ever recovering. Still, placing hope against hope, they persist in moving ahead. What are some of the issues they face now as they try to move forward, hoping to see their small church grow and be vibrant again?
Fewer pastors are willing to serve in these churches.
Seminary-trained pastors often carry a lot of student debt and realize that debt will not quickly be paid back from the salaries smaller churches often offer. Sadly, one of the biggest reasons for staying “stuck in the rut” is that these churches, even though they cannot afford a highly educated pastor, want one!
Regardless of the specific reasons, studies have found that many pastors will not serve smaller churches. So now, what do they attempt to do?
2. More and more smaller churches are seeking bi-vocational leadership.
As good an idea as it sounds, fewer bi-vocational ministers can easily relocate due to their other employment, which limits pastoral searches to a smaller geographic area.
Few full-time ministers are willing to move to a new location and search for other employment to supplement their church income as bi-vocational ministers. It’s not a viable option for many otherwise available qualified men.
3. One of the essentials for a healthy, growing church is strong pastoral leadership, and many pastors are unable to provide such leadership.
Many small-church pastors with leadership skills are not permitted to do so. Any effort to provide leadership is quickly halted by immature controllers allowed by the congregation to exercise their dysfunction on the entire church body.
Sadly, I experienced this scenario at one church when I agreed to be an interim pastor. Long story short- stewardship became ownership, leading to unwise and unbiblical decision-making.
4. In many smaller churches, you will likely see a lot of gray hair.
I mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. These churches are often aging, and as members become unable to attend church due to death or illness, younger persons do not replace them. One reason is that much of what the church does is geared toward its older members, with little effort focused on attracting younger persons to become involved in the church’s life.
These folks have grown accustomed to making it through the main service, and nothing else was pushed aside. They lack the energy level necessary to focus on the younger generation.
5. Finances are often a problem.
It is well established that younger generations do not tithe or give to the church as the “builder” and “boomer” generations do. Many smaller churches also do not make it easy to contribute. I read an article recently that showed that check-writing among young people is almost a thing of the past; Everything is done with a debit card or by direct withdrawal.
How many smaller churches offer the opportunity for people to give through either of those means?
That is not the only reason, however, that finances may be a problem. Many of these aged saints now live on a fixed budget. They depend on whatever they receive from a work pension if they have one, and Medicare! It is tough to give generously under such economic circumstances.
6. Many smaller churches have forgotten why they exist. Some are so focused on survival they have forgotten they exist for mission.
Because of a sole focus on survival, many of these congregations have not seen anyone brought to Christ in years (decades?). Not that the gospel isn’t preached; it’s just that it is being preached to the choir every Sunday.
Unless a church understands its God-given purpose and attempts to live it out, one must question whether it is good stewardship for that church to continue.
7. Even more churches have no vision for ministry; they merely drift along weekly, hoping that something good will happen someday.
God has a unique vision for each church, and it is the responsibility of the church and its leadership to discern that vision and begin to live in it. Scripture is correct that without a vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18), and so do churches.
Those churches that address these problems and begin to correct them can enjoy a productive ministry. It may simply be that their focus has to change with the changing backdrop of their particular church and its ability to reach out.
I do not believe any small church has to close, but if they are unwilling to confront why they are moving in that direction, it is unlikely they will survive.
So what counsel is there for the small church member or leader in this predicament?
First, be honest with yourself, the other members, and especially The Lord Jesus Christ, who created this thing called the church and is its supreme authority (Ephesians 2:11-3:6; 1:22; Colossians 1:18). Perhaps it is time to close the doors and bless another likeminded church with your resources as the church body prayerfully seeks another church to be apart of.
Second, reconsider the new program you may want to start. There is no new program that is going to bring the crowds flocking toward your church. You will never be able to compete with the bigger church down the road that has the people and resources to run any particular program they like. That includes programs for the youth. You can offer a church family built around loving the parents and children who attend. Your focus would be better suited toward relationships.
Third, consider that you need to change some things. I want to share this quote with you because it’s helpful.
“I know that change is a dirty word for some of you. You are all about tradition and keeping things as they have been for the past fifty years. Let’s think about this for a few minutes, though. You have a church that consists mainly of seniors, which is not an uncommon state of affairs. You want to attract young families with children because you think your church will die without a new generation of young people.
The fact that attracting young families is a problem strongly indicates that what you have been doing has not been working. Someone has defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results. Too many churches are practicing a type of spiritual insanity in their response to this issue.
We have a shortage of young families.
What we are currently doing is not attracting young families. We will continue doing Everything precisely as we have done in the past, hoping that young families will attend. It isn’t going to happen. Any church with a preponderance of seniors will have to change something to attract young families.
For too many churches attracting young families isn’t the priority that determines what they do. They want to attract young families without changing anything to attract them. Attracting young families that will fit into their way of the church is the priority.
I am not calling for immediate wholesale changes in your church. I am suggesting that if what you are doing hasn’t worked in the past, you will probably have to change your approach if you expect any results in the future.”
Lastly, be fervent in prayer and generous in praise. We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We are to ask in prayer, believing that He will hear and answer our prayers (Matthew 21:22). Everything that has breath should praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6); our lips should praise Him for all His wonderful kindnesses towards us (Psalm 63:3). Despite our current circumstances and the uncertainty of the future, we are called to praise our Father in heaven because He is good, trustworthy, and omnipotent! This is not a moot point; it is the main focal point!
- 1. Smallchurchconnections.com
2. Seven reasons were adapted from an article by this man below.
Dennis Bickers is a church consultant and author. He served previously as the bi-vocational pastor of Hebron Baptist Church near Madison, Indiana, for 20 years.
(PODCAST) SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS
THE PRAXIS OF THEOLOGY
One of the first things you will notice on my blog site is the 7waysfromsunday logo. Directly underneath those seven fingers are these words: “Where theology instructs our daily walk.” Those words are at the very top of the page because they define the purpose of this website. That purpose is to take the “knowledge” of God gleaned from His holy Word and rightly apply it to our everyday lives.
That is the “praxis” you read in the title of this post. Praxis is the practical application of learned theology. “*The overall importance of Practical Theology is that the study of Christian beliefs as found in Scripture involves more than merely knowing what the Bible teaches but also how its teachings apply to life’s situations.”
This particular sphere of theology is most noticeable in the arenas of pastoral ministry, biblical counseling, and Christian education, to name a few. As well as blog sites, podcasts (like this one), and parachurch ministries that are constantly and purposely seeking to help the body of Christ (the church) actively live out in their lives and areas of influence the knowledge they have gained by studying the Word of God.
So then, my aim in all I do, whether written or in audio format, is to take what we learn in scripture from other areas of theology, such as Biblical theology, Historical theology, and Systematic Theology, and bring all of that down to a place that focuses on the everyday or modern day implications of Christian theological beliefs because theology is the application of theological truth to all of life, particularly the life and work of the church.
So how does that work? The answer to that question involves some level of understanding of the various aspects of theology. First, Biblical theology focuses on knowledge about God that is relayed to us in the Bible. Its focus begins by looking at scripture book by book. To say it another way, to gain a biblical theology, one has to study each particular book in the Bible carefully to learn its place in the unfolding process of redemption. We want to take careful notice of various distinctions that are present (Israel and the church), different vocabulary usage (John contrasted to Matthew), and the different genres (poetical, prophetical, historical, etc.) and so much more. All of these are interwoven, so by asking various questions relating to all these things, we can connect the dots, if you will, and form a cohesive biblical theology.
But along the way, we realize this book has many themes that run from cover to cover. Those need to be tracked and understood in light of the whole trajectory of the Bible. By doing this, we can see “1the wisdom of God in unfolding Scripture in these ways, and we sometimes, as we see these themes unpacked before our eyes, bow in worship as we begin to glimpse something of the mind of God in putting these stories together when individual writers along the line themselves could not see all that they were contributing to, even if they could see the current bit where God was using their words to speak with infallible truth.”
Second, Historical theology is the study of Christian history, the development of Christian doctrine, and looking at how Christians throughout history have understood and applied various biblical truths to their lives, such as the nature of God, the nature of man, Salvation, the Holy Spirit, government, and much much more.
Third, Systematic Theology takes all the parts (Christology, Pneumatology, Anthropology, hamartiology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Angelology, and Eschatology) and “systematizes” them. In other words, rather than studying each part (as referenced above), systematic theology focuses on bringing all the biblical teachings mentioned above into a self-consistent, coherent whole. This “bringing together” is not haphazard. Instead, it provides order and defense of these truths in a systematic, understandable way.
So what practical theology does is take all that was learned from the various elements above and exegete the theological significance of how we live our lives today in light of these truths.
These truths apply to every sphere of our existence. Our personal lives, relationships in and out of the church, work, and our relationship with government, employers, and other authority figures. Our view of life and death, the world and everything in it. They guide our thoughts and help form our opinions. They give us an understanding of the God who created and redeemed us so that we can walk in a manner worthy of Him. And so much more!
That is the praxis of 7waysfromsunday!
Mark 16: 1-12
BRIEF INTRO: We have made it! After all these weeks of meditating on the words of Mark, we finally arrive at the last chapter of his gospel. We began this gospel account focused on the beginning of Christ’s ministry in Galilee and surrounding regions. We read about how it broadened and entered various Gentile regions, the ending of His ministry as He headed toward Jerusalem, and how His ministry was consummated at the crucifixion and His rising again.
We learned of how Jesus gained disciples, taught them, commissioned them, and then how they fled from Him when He was betrayed. And we were shocked to witness their unbelief after He arose from the grave!
We read about many miracles that Jesus accomplished. His teachings, instructions, and challenges challenged us to look into our hearts and be honest with ourselves about our relationship with Him.
We found ourselves confused and agitated at the constant attacks of the “religious” class against Jesus and their scheme to get rid of Him. Ultimately, they seem to have succeeded: But then Christ arose from the grave, fulfilling all that was said of Him by the prophets, and the church was born!
16 “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of [a]James, and Salome bought spices so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, they *came to the tomb when the sun had risen.3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb for us?” 4 And looking up, they *noticed that the stone had been rolled away; [b]for it was extremely large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.”
FOCUS ONE: The sun had risen (1-5)
Saturday, Nisan 16, concluded at sunset. The Sabbath had ended, and the new Jewish day had begun. That evening ended with Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, looking on to see “Where He (Jesus) was laid” (15:47). These women then left that place and “prepared the spices and perfumes” (Luke 23:56) necessary to bury Jesus properly. The new day begins with these women waking up (if they even slept) before the “1crack of dawn” to walk to the place where they saw Jesus laid to “counteract the odor of decay and as a symbolic expression of loving devotion.” The Jews did not embalm their dead!
John informs us from his writing that Jesus was placed near a tomb where He was crucified. “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” (John 19:41).
Mark mentions another woman with these other ladies when they go to the tomb in the early morning. Her name is Salome. We know little about her, but the snippet below is helpful and encouraging.
“*Even though we don’t know much about the second Salome and her particular motivations, what we do know gives a strong sense of her devotion. She was willing to give up her regular life to follow Jesus, a carpenter who had become an itinerant (and, since he wasn’t part of the recognized religious orders, uncertified) teacher. Dropping everything to follow someone like that, especially since he was a Messiah who avoided any worldly connotations (no way to make money from his revolution) would have been hard to explain. Doing that as a woman in a patriarchal society would have been even harder. Salome not only took big social risks to follow Jesus, but she also supported him with her resources.
Even after his cause appeared to have completely collapsed and he was dying, Salome was there for Jesus. Rather than just quietly leave and get back to her normal life, she was there at the cross. After his death, she was there to honor him at the tomb by anointing his body.”
These women head for the tomb before the sun rises. As they arrive, the sun has risen, and they face an unexpected problem. There is a huge stone rolled over the tomb! Two of these ladies knew that a stone was rolled against the entrance (vv. 46-47), but apparently, I’d think much about it during their preparation of the spices.
But the stone itself was a much more minor issue than the “official seal” placed on it and the guard that watched it. How confused and yet amazed they must have been when they looked to the place where Jesus was laid and saw that the stone had already been rolled away! “And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it” (Matthew 28:2). The guards that were assigned to keep watch over the tomb “shook for fear of him and became like dead men” (v. 4)! Problems solved! Mark does not tell us these facts.
So now what? They entered it! They see “a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed” (v. 5). This “young man” is the angel that Matthew told us about.
6 “But he *said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; see, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.'” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
FOCUS TWO: HE is not here! (6-8)
These women experience a broad range of emotions. They go from experiencing sorrow at His crucifixion to amazement at the stone being rolled away in verse five, and now we read that they are experiencing great fear at what they are witnessing. “Mark uses a compound verb of strong emotion (ekthambeo)” that expresses overwhelming distress at what is highly unusual.
“During the stress response, your heart rate increases, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises.” Your mind battles the reality you face trying to make sense of it, and your body becomes overloaded. You and I may not be able to relate to their overwhelming distress, but on a smaller scale, I think we can understand it. People that have experienced a severe traumatic event, such as 911 0r fighting in a war, can relate, to some degree, to the mental and physical aspects of “overwhelming stress.”
The angel speaks to them and tells them the unbelievable yet amazing news that Jesus, who they are looking for, who they came to prepare for burial, is not there! “HE HAS RISEN; He is not here, behold, here is the place where they laid Him” (v. 6).
This straightforward fact conveyed by the angel is central to historic Christianity! “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Many people since the time of Christ have posited explanations for this grand event, seeking to explain it away. But, there is only one explanation as to why the tomb of Christ was empty: the unassailable reality that he rose from the dead as it is written of Him (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)!
The angel commands (“go” is in the present imperative) them to tell the disciples that He is alive and is going before them to Galilee. It will be there where they will see Him alive! What I find interesting is the particular reference to Peter, “But go and tell His disciples and Peter” (v. 7). “2 Peter was not signaled out as the leader of the disciples, but to be reassured that, despite his denials of Christ, he was s2 Peterne of them.”
At this, the women fled (flee, escaped), and their minds were overwhelmed by the shock and awe of the moment. Their bodies were trembling in fear, and when told they could go, they went as fast as they could! So consumed by shock and fear, they didn’t immediately speak about it to anyone.
9 “[[[a]Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.
12 Now after that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country.”
FOCUS THREE: Refused to believe it! (9-20)
These last verses in our study and the rest of this chapter are among the most disputed textual problems in our New Testament. MacArthur states, “The external evidence strongly suggests these verses were not originally part of Mark’s gospel. While the majority of Greek manuscripts contain these verses, the earliest and most reliable do not.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary says evidence against it being included in Mark’s gospel is strong. But rather than end our study here, I will comment on these verses because they are before us to contemplate.
Click here for an in-depth article on this issue.
We read that He arose early on the first day of the week. That would be Sunday morning; Saturday was the last day of the week for the Jews. Scripture describes several separate appearances of Jesus between His resurrection and ascension; Mary Magdalene at the tomb was the first. She quickly went and reported this to Peter and John. Refusing to believe it, they both run to the tomb; Peter arrives first and stoops down, looking in (John 20:3-4).
Put chart here
After all of His appearances to the 11 disciples and their resultant unbelief, Jesus appears to all of them and reproaches (rebuked) them for their “unbelief and hardness of heart” (v. 14). We might scoff at such unbelief, but we would have acted no differently.
Similar to Matthew’s account of the Great Commission, we see an added detail in this account: baptism. “Even if v.16 is a genuine part of Mark’s gospel, it does not teach that baptism saves, since the lost are condemned for unbelief, not for 2 EveneEveningized.”
Verses 16-18 appear on the surface to be problematic. Some people apply these scriptures to all believers of all time, as some do at the Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tennessee. But signs like these were only promised to the apostolic community (Matthew 10:1; 2 Corinthians 12:12). Regarding the drinking of poison and handling of snakes; the New Testament records no instances of either of these experiences mentioned. “Paul’s encounter with a snake at Malta was unintentional (Acts 28:3-5).
Verse nineteen gives insight into what happened after Christ’s forty-day post-resurrection “ministry.” This event is recorded in Acts 1:9-11. The disciples, now energized with faith at being with Jesus after He rose from the grave, begin fulfilling the commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
We did it; we just finished our study of the Gospel of Mark! He is alive! I hope that you have been educated, encouraged, and equipped to go into the world around you and share Jesus with the lost.
HE IS RISEN-HE IS RISEN INDEED!
1 The Bible Knowledge Commentary
2 John MacArthur
(PODCAST) Pornography and our kids
THE BODY OF JESUS
I don’t want us moving forward in our study of Mark and his writing on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus simply gaining a broader cognitive understanding of how all the events played out. Instead, I want us to grasp the “facts” evident in Mark’s account that reveal to us, the reader, the gospel to be believed.
Paul shared with the Corinthian believers the gospel to be believed in (1 Corinthians 15:1-8); Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day. Over 500 people witnessed his rising from the grave! But whether or not a person saw that tremendous event as it happened, they are still held accountable for believing those facts of the gospel to be born again (John 20:27-29)!
The first two of those three facts are attested to in the section we will be looking at today.
42 When evening had already come, since it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself also waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.
FOCUS ONE: It was evening (42-43)
The designation “evening” refers to the hours between 3 PM and sunset when Friday ended and the Sabbath began. Since no work was allowed on the Sabbath day, Friday was used for preparing for it.
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, goes before Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. He witnessed the gruesome event, and after Jesus cried out and breathed His last, he mustered up some courage to stand before Pilate.
“*Under Roman law the release of a crucified man’s corpse for burial was determined only by the imperial magistrate. Usually such a request by a victim’s relatives was granted, but sometimes a body would be left on a cross to decay or be eaten by predatory animals or birds and the remains were thrown into a common grave. Jewish law required a proper burial for all bodies, even those of executed criminals. It also dictated that those hanged were to be taken down and buried before sunset” (Deuteronomy 21:23).
This is most likely why Joseph of Arimathea goes before Pilate. We are told two exciting facts about this man:
- He was a prominent member of the Council
- He was waiting for the kingdom of God
The “Council” is another name, a non-Jewish name, for the Sanhedrin. He appears to be a devout Pharisee but disagrees with the Sanhedrin’s decision to kill Jesus (Luke 23:51). He regarded Jesus as the Messiah. However, he did it from a distance, so to speak, as he was a “secret disciple (John 19:38). But, as we see in these scriptures, he publicly risked his reputation and even his life in asking Pilate for the body of Jesus! No longer in the shadows of faith, but now in headlights of transparency!
Sadly, many professing Christians worldwide can relate to Joseph’s dilemma-being a secret follower of Jesus Christ. Many Christians fear their lives, families, and underground churches. We can only hope and pray that, like Joseph of Arimathea, they, too, will find the courage to stand up, face their fear, and walk boldly for the glory of Jesus Christ.
What Joseph did was no light thing. But he does it anyway! “*He was not related to Jesus; his request was a favor that would likely be denied on principle because Jesus was executed for treason; he risked ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body; his request amounted to an open confession of personal loyalty to the crucified Jesus which would doubtless incur his associates’ hostility.”
This makes me think about many Christians here in America who, in one way or another, are walking on “eggshells” regarding their faith because of the position they hold in this toxic culture that envelopes us. Teachers in public schools, those working for the government, and others feel the same woe, much like Joseph did. But will they stand up and step out, courageously identifying with Jesus Christ when there is no option but flat-out betrayal?
Thankfully, Covid 19 and the lockdowns have given us some wonderful testimonies of people facing this dilemma and boldly standing for Christ and His morality amid much vitriolic opposition. If they are Christ’s, they will be given the courage, just like Joseph of Arimathea! So be encouraged.
44 Now Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. 45 And after learning this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been cut out in the rock, and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
FOCUS TWO: Preparing the Lord’s body (44-46)
Joseph of Arimathea’s plea seems to have bewildered Pilate. Pilate wondered if he was already dead. Most often, crucifixion victims suffered for days before death became mercy. So, Pilate summons the centurion; oh yeah! The same centurion stated, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (v. 39). He asks if Jesus is already dead, and the centurion confirms that He is (cr. John 19:31-35). Pilate grants Joseph’s request for the body.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned the three facts that need to be believed to be saved, i.e., Jesus died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. Dear reader, what is being testified to here and in the other gospels is that Jesus did die, and His burial officially confirmed His death. As mentioned earlier, this was an essential point of the church’s teaching on the atoning (finished) work of Christ Jesus.
It is unlikely that Joseph would have been able to take Jesus off the cross by himself or move His body to the tomb. It makes sense then to assume that he had some others help him. A quick preparation would need to be done and finished later after the sabbath (cr. 16:1). “*After Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, it was probably washed (Acts 9:37) before it was wrapped tightly in strips of linen cloth with aromatic spices placed between the wraps. All this was in accord with Jewish burial customs” (John 9:39-40).
He is laid in a tomb, Joseph’s grave in a nearby garden (Matthew 27:60). The tomb is then sealed shut by rolling a large flat circular stone in front of the entrance. Usually, the stone was “rolled down a sloping groove till it was securely in front of the entrance to keep out intruders. To roll the stone back up again would require the strength of several men.”
47 Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, were watching to see where He was laid.
Mark tells us that two women that had witnessed Jesus’ death witnessed where His body was laid too! Perhaps the other women were still grieving at the crucifixion site or went back home. Who were here women? Mary Magdalene was the woman that was delivered from seven demons (Luke 8:2). Mary, the mother of Joses, is also described as the “mother of James the less” (Matthew 27:56).
These two women, along with Salome, are the first to get to the tomb on resurrection day! That will be our focus next time.
*The Bible Knowledge Commentary