Visiting graves was not uncommon in biblical times, but what makes it applicable today? My life began in a graveyard. While not physically birthed among the tombstones, it is a place God used to begin prying my eyes open for the need for salvation. I was 27 years old and soon to be divorced for the second time. Shame fit me like a custom-made coat.

One afternoon, I felt an urge to walk through our local cemetery. Strange, I know. It was the first and last time it happened. As I meandered around the gravestones, I suddenly realized I was surrounded by names of those who were no more. It struck me that this too would be my destiny, something I’d given little thought to at the age of twenty-seven.

At that moment, two simple questions came to mind that changed everything: So, how do you want to live your life knowing this will one day await you? Do you want to continue living for yourself, or do you want your life to count for something? Less than a week later, I surrendered my old way of living to Christ.

Whether saying goodbye to a loved one or an old way of living, life can begin in a graveyard.

Does the Bible Say Anything about Visiting Graves?
The Bible does mention people vvisiting graves several times.The most well-known account of visiting a grave is that of the three women who visited Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome witnessed His crucifixion and followed Joseph from Arimathea to the new tomb where Jesus was placed.

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb? (Mark 16:1-3)

Why Did the Women Visit Jesus’ Grave to Anoint His Body?
Embalming wasn’t a Jewish custom. Spices, like myrrh and aloe, were used to offset the odor of decomposition, so the women likely went to Jesus’ tomb early Sunday morning to finish the preparations for His burial. One thing, however, was certain—their love for Jesus was true.

These three women treasured their friendship with the One who had transformed their lives. The question of who would roll the large stone from the entrance of the tomb when they arrived would not deter their devotion.

As it turned out, the women didn’t have to worry about the stone. When they arrived, they found the tomb’s stone was rolled away, and an angel informed them that Jesus had risen from the dead.

When Did Jesus Visit Lazarus’ Grave?
Another well-known biblical account of visiting a grave is that of Lazarus. Lazarus’ story began four days earlier when Jesus received word that his close friend was very sick. When he got the news, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).

Jesus enjoyed a close, loving friendship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Still, when Jesus heard that Lazarus was very sick, Jesus decided to stay where He was for two more days.

I remember reading the verses as a new believer, wondering how love and waiting could happen simultaneously. But Isaiah 55:8,9 rings true:

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

According to John 11:17, Jesus learned upon arriving that Lazarus had been dead for four days. This is key because it indicates Jesus’ purpose in not rushing to help Lazarus. Everything He does is pregnant with purpose, whether we see or understand it.

“He waited four days because Jewish beliefs said that the spirit of the deceased would hover over a body for three days, but after that time, the body would become so disfigured that the spirit would not recognize him and depart. In this viewpoint, resurrection after three days would be even more impossible.” (Michael Card, The Parable of Joy)

Jesus made sure that only God would receive glory for Lazarus’ return to life at the grave.

How Did Mary and Martha Respond When Jesus Visited Lazarus’ Grave?
Because Jerusalem was only a couple of miles from Bethany, many friends came to weep and mourn with the family. For the Jewish people, burying loved ones was a time for the community to come together to pay their respects to the one who had died.

By admin