After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” (John 19:38-42)

Full period stop. That was it. Jesus was in a tomb. And after waiting for the Sabbath to be over, those close to him and who loved him would prepare his body for eternal rest. It was just a mattering of waiting.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.” (Matthew 27:62-66)

I have been to a number of funerals, and the lowering of the casket (or the placing of an urn) seems to be final and finale. The sealing of a tomb with a large stone (oh yes, we have proof after the fact that it was a large stone) would seem to complete and insure the finality. For myself, personally, there is a sense of security and comfort that nothing could get in and nothing could get out. Not forcible confinement, you understand. But a cocooning that denotes serenity and the ceasing of all concern. For both the people who loved and cared for Jesus, and for those who still had reason to fear him – that sealed tomb meant they could take a break and compose themselves. To mourn; and to try to quell their fears. Shalom and Selah.

In you, O LORD, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.” (Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16)