“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” Luke 23.50-56
Two separate locations in Jerusalem claim the place where Jesus was buried. Golgotha, the “place of the skull”, way outside the city gates, was the hill on which Jesus was said to be crucified. Beside it is the Garden Tomb, a rolling stone tomb likely the place for Jesus’ burial. (Beautiful site to go and worship.)
The second is under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre located in the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and less than a mile from Golgotha. The church was built around a rock out cropping and cave said to have been the location where Jesus was buried. These shrines are typical in this part of the world where churches and mosques are built over the holy site in question.
Regardless of the exact site of Jesus’ burial, he did not remain in the tomb. This we know. So although it’s meaningful to make educated guesses as to where this happened, so we might go and worship and witness, it’s not crucial to our faith. What is crucial is that we believe, we trust, we make him Lord and Savior.
Joseph of Arimathea honored the Lord by asking for his body from Pilate, and burying him in a new tomb. The women returned home because of the Sabbath and to prepare the spices for his burial. Everyone of the Gospel accounts tell the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial (http://www.para-gospel.com/section/asv/16.ThePassionNarrative). Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb, because it was the Day of Preparation, the day before the Sabbath, and left alone until after the Sabbath and his followers could return and give him a proper burial.
Imagine the pain, loss and grief of those who just watched the Son of Man die? Consider how his followers felt? They had put their faith in Jesus and now he had died. What were they to do? Well, we know the rest of the story but they did not. Today we mourn the death of Jesus. He who he saved others did not save himself. His death, though unjust in every way imaginable, would impact every human for all eternity.
“O Lord God, it’s amazing to consider what you did for us. Unbelievable that you would submit to being killed by sinful people. Thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for the cross. Thank you for loving us enough to reveal your love through your passion and your death. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your power. Help us spread your message to the world so all might believe and by believing find salvation in your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen.