The gospel of Jesus Christ is based on three historical facts, His death, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-4). The death of Christ, as we examined last week, was the atoning sacrifice for our sins (Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2), satisfying both the wrath and justice of God toward sin (Rom 5:8-10; Col 1:20). It seems simple enough then that the fact of Christ’s death is a significant part of the gospel. Sometimes the second historical fact of the gospel, His burial (1 Cor 15:4), may seem less significant to us, but His burial holds some significant information that should encourage our hearts and secure our faith in Jesus.
His burial is also according to the scriptures. In the first gospel (of Christ) sermon ever preached (Acts 2:14-36), Peter appeals to the Jews to hear the words of David, written nearly one thousand years before Jesus was born (Psa 16:8-11), and believe that Jesus’ burial and resurrection were the fulfillment of God’s promise to David. Christ’s victory over the grave (Sheol in Hebrew and Hades in Greek) gave Him authority over it, and He now holds the keys of death and Hades (Rev 1:18). Jesus’ authority over the grave is the basis of His promise to us that He will rescue us from the grave and this world so that we will be with Him forever (1 Thes 4:13 -17). Then the saying that is written will come true: O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting (1 Cor 15:54–55). God will redeem us from the grave and surely take us to Himself (Psa 49:15). The call of the gospel is that we encourage each other with these words (1 Thes 4:18).