Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bosom, Burial, Banishment

We have been looking at the humiliation of Jesus. It has several steps. We have come to the fifth step: his burial.

Burial does nothing to our glory because dust and sin have no glory. Jesus was not from dust, and He was holy. Burial did something to his glory. Burial humiliated him.

Jesus kept voluntarily hiding his glory by his: birth in poverty, life of suffering, crucifixion, and death. In those steps, something of Jesus could be seen, even if it was only poverty, suffering, crucifixion, and death. But in burial, the hiding of glory was complete. Jesus was in the ground behind a stone.

Dust to Dust

God told Adam, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.'’ (Gen 3:19) “All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.” (Eccl 3:20) “You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.” (Ps 104:29)

When men die, they return to their dust. Dust is our place.

Heaven to Dust

Adam came from dust, but Jesus came from heaven. “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.” (1 Cor 15:47) Dust is our place. Heaven is Jesus’ place.

But Jesus humbled himself and took our place. For Jesus to be buried was not a return to his place of glory as the Lord from heaven. It was descent into our place of dust and dishonor.

Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; yes, let him trample my life to the earth, and lay my honor in the dust. (Ps 7:5)

The burial of Adam mingled dust with dust, but the burial of Jesus mingled dust with gold.

Sin and Dust

Dust refers to the curses for sin.

Because the Devil sinned by tempting Adam and Eve, God cursed him. His curse was to eat dust.

The Lord God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you are cursed …; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust. (Gen 3:14)

For Adam’s sin, God said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake.” (Gen 3:17) He cursed the dust from which Adam came and to which Adam would go in burial. Under the curse, the field brought forth weeds with the crop. (Gen 3:18) Jesus used weeds as symbols of sinners sewn by the Devil. (Mt 13:24-30) After pronouncing this curse, God next said, “for out of it [the ground] you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:19) Adam was buried in the ground cursed for his sin.

When Jesus volunteered to be buried, He hid his holiness under the sign of sin, curse, and wickedness. “He assigned His grave with wicked men.” (Is 53:9).

The Dust of Threshing

John the Baptist used threshing as an illustration of judgment. He said about Messiah:

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. (Mt 3:12)

Winnowing means letting wind blow through what has been gathered from the field onto the threshing floor. The gathering was a mixture of chaff, dust, and wheat. Farmers used forks to toss the mixture into the air. The wind blew away the chaff and dust. The wheat fell to the threshing floor and was saved. John spoke of burning the chaff with fire. The Old Testament compared destruction to being made “like the dust at threshing.”

There was not left to Jehoahaz [much of] an army … for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing. (2 Kings 13:7)

In burial, Jesus went to dust and was under the judgment of God.

Royal Glory and Dust

The Bible pictures dust as the opposite of royal glory. The Lord said to King Jehu, “I lifted you out of the dust and made you ruler over My people Israel.” (1 Kg 16:2) In Hannah’s prayer, she said,

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. (1 Sam 2:8)

A couple verses in Psalm 113 “look back to the song of Hannah.”[1]

He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that He may seat him with princes. (Ps 113:7-8)

These verses “anticipate the great downward and upward sweep of the gospel”[2] which was to go deeper than the dust of Adam and higher than thrones of earthly princes. In his resurrection, Jesus would be seated far above all principality and power at the Father’s right hand. He would be given a Name above all names. (Eph 1:21-22) He would be the King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev 19:16) But first, his burial took him deeper than Adam’s dust.

From Bosom to Banishment

During Jesus’ burial in dust, He was deposed from his throne of glory, down to the lowest pit, adrift among the dead, forgotten by his Father, cut off from his Father’s hand, in darkness and in depths, under his Father’s wrath, and alone.

I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who has no strength,
Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And who are cut off from Your hand.
You have laid me in the lowest pit,
In darkness, in the depths.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them. (Ps 88:4-6)

“There is no sadder prayer in the Psalter.”[3] Jesus was “being treated like the wicked.”[4] He was under God’s wrath on our sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)

For our sin, Jesus descended from the bosom of the Father to burial and “banishment”[5] by his Father. He did this to bring us to his Father. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Pet 3:18)


1.   Derek Kidner, Palms 73-150: A Commentary on Books III –V of the Psalms, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Inter-Varsity Press, 1875), p. 402.
2.  Id.
3.  Id., p. 316.
4.  Id., p. 318.
5.  Id.


No comments:

Post a Comment