A friend of mine was in the Army. His unit was assigned to latrine duty – cleaning the bathrooms. But the commanding officer said to my friend, “Soldier – I want you to be my driver. You come this way.” An order was overridden by a greater authority. How nice!
After the crucifixion, when Jesus was buried, the Romans assigned Him a grave with the other criminals. But God’s greater authority overruled that assignment, and Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb. Isaiah tells us about this switch in Isaiah 53:9. He said, “His grave was assigned to be with wicked men, yet with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”
The word “assigned” is a Hebrew word that means “to give or grant.” In certain contexts it can also mean “to put or place; to assign or appoint.” “His grave was assigned to be with wicked men.”
It was intended that Jesus would be thrown into a common grave with the other victims of crucifixion. A person who was crucified was not to be honored with a decent burial. He would simply be discarded – thrown away – and forgotten about. But God overruled this intent. Joseph of Arimathea was given permission to take the body of Jesus and give Him a burial that was fitting to who He really was. Why? Because He was not a criminal – “He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”
After Jesus had died for our sins – in our place, there was no longer any need for Him to be treated as a criminal. God was vindicating His Servant. He was saying “thus far, and not further.” Never again would vile, wicked hands be permitted to touch Jesus’ body. He was buried with the rich, in a new and unused tomb.
Say! He who came from a virgin’s womb could only be laid in a virgin tomb.