Silent Saturday – Was Jesus Really Buried?

Good Friday shows us that Jesus did actually die on a cross. Skeptics will point out that His death on the cross does not necessitate at all that He was raised from the dead. In seeking to find alternative explanations to the Resurrection, some will look to His burial.

Some make the claim that Jesus was not buried in a tomb. A group of Bible scholars that go by the name “The Jesus Seminar” decided that Jesus was very likely buried in a shallow unmarked grave as most every other executed criminal of the time. This same view is held by New Testament critic Bart Ehrman. Others have suggested that his body was merely thrown on the trash heap. These attempts at explanations fall into a category sometimes called the Trash Theory. The point of the theory is that there is no empty tomb because there is no tomb. But the problem with the theory is that Jesus’ burial is carefully recorded in Luke’s gospel. Respected secular historians have noted that Luke’s work in his gospel as well as Acts represent a very high standard of historical reliability. There is no real reason to dispute Luke’s claim that Jesus was buried in the tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.

Another theory given to dispute the claims of the Resurrection is the Wrong Tomb Theory. This is the idea that Jesus’ disciples simply went to the wrong tomb when they went looking for Him, and turned this wrong, empty tomb into a basis for declaring Jesus to be resurrected. There are a couple of big issues for this theory. First, if true, then the Romans and/or the Jews, who both wanted this whole “Jesus” thing to be over with, would have very quickly produced Jesus’ body and put an end to the disciples’ claim of a resurrection. But second, the Jews in fact believed that the tomb was really empty, and tried to devise a non-resurrection narrative to explain why it was empty.

Jesus was put to death on a Roman cross, paying the penalty we owed for our sin, and we commemorate it on Good Friday. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday. Between those two is Saturday, which Scripture is pretty silent about. His body lay in a tomb, waiting for what was coming next.

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