After the crucifixion of Jesus, the faith of the Church affirms that he truly died and was buried. That was the earliest experience of those who stood by him at the cross – his mother and the other women, and the Beloved Disciple. Many moving images have been made by artists of his mother receiving the dead body of her son after he was taken down from the cross, a maternal experience unfortunately all too common, as mothers in war zones continue to receive the scarred remains of their beloved children.
The image below, showing them bearing the body of Jesus to the tomb, is from a mosaic decorating the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem which stands above the burial site of Jesus.
That Jesus really died is incontrovertible. People did not survive crucifixion by the Romans! It’s deepest meaning is that in Christ – as Jesus Christ – God’s eternal son shared our human lot right up to the end: death, with all its fears and torments. It is the deepest meaning of what we call ‘the incarnation’, i.e., God taking flesh for us.
In the resurrection, when God his Father raised him from death, Jesus showed that by his death he had destroyed death itself. The burial of Jesus is all about God’s solidarity with us, right up to and including the end.
that we who are baptized into the death
of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
may continually put to death our evil desires
and be buried with him;
and that through the grave and gate of death
we may pass to our joyful resurrection;
through his merits,
who died and was buried and rose again for us,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
In the depths of our isolation
we cry to you, Lord God:
give light to our darkness
and bring us out of the prison of our despair;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen