Unlimited: The Stone
Jun 30, 2021 715
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb (Mark 15:46, NIV).
Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus’ body in a tomb cut out of rock. It’s very important to notice what he did next.
Mark makes a big deal about this. Why?
First-century Jewish burials were different from ours.
The big deal about the stone
The body would be placed in a tomb cut in a rock, and sealed with a heavy round stone. This stone could weigh between 1 and 2 tonnes.
The rolling stone was typically set in a groove in front of the entrance, and it was kept from falling forward by a stone wall built along the rock face, parallel to the tomb entrance.
This groove the stone rolled in usually sloping down toward the entrance of the tomb; so to open the tomb, the stone would have to be rolled up the groove at an incline.
Given the way the tomb was built, it would have been impossible for Jesus, from the inside, to simply push the stone over. Also, it would have been impossible to roll the stone back up the groove without having anything to grip.
And of course, the Roman guard made it impossible for anyone to have come from the outside to remove the body.
That’s why Mark makes such a big deal about the stone.
Mark’s repeated emphasis on the eyewitness nature of the accounts is interesting because it is very likely that Mark’s gospel is substantially based on the recollections of the Apostle Peter.
In his second epistle, chapter 1:16, Peter wrote,
…we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses…
– Eliezer Gonzalez
Eli’s Reflection: The world is full of cleverly devised fables. Hold on to the truth! Reflect on where the truth is found.