Jesus’ Tomb

This photo is of a first-century Judean tomb, like the one Jesus would have been placedtomb2 in. Notice how low the entrance is, little more than three-feet high; and the large stone to block the entrance. (Part of the outside wall to the tomb has collapsed.)

Matthew 27 says, Joseph (of Arimathea) took the body (Jesus’) and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.

If an Israelite family could afford a family tomb, it was a cave hewn out of the rock. A rock bench would be there on which the body was placed. And the body would be wrapped in a shroud, but was otherwise uncovered.

Tombs were visited and watched for three days by family members and friends. On the third day after death, the body was examined.

At this point, the body would be treated by the women of the family with oils and perfumes.

After visiting the tomb on the third day the body was then left for a year, by which time it had decomposed. The bones were then collected and placed in an ossuary, a ‘bone box’.

One of the great archeological finds of recent times was discovery of Caiaphas’ tomb. It was accidently found by a construction workers almost 30 years ago.

Inside the tomb archeologists found several ossuaries (bone boxes). On one of the ossuaries was written in Aramaic, “Caiaphas,” and on another was written, “Joseph Bar Caiaphas.”

We know from the ancient Jewish/Roman historian, Flavius Josephus, that Joseph Bar Caiaphas is the Caiaphas mentioned in the New Testament as the high priest who presided over Jesus’ trial and death.

Inside the ornate bone box marked “Joseph Bar Caiaphas” the bones of a sixty-year-old male and several other family members were placed.

On this day after Good Friday, we have Caiaphas’ bones who rotted inside his tomb; but for Jesus, we have the empty tomb of Easter.

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