Are Funerals Biblical?

Dear Roger,

As of now I'm not interested in having a funeral when I pass away. My question is:..Did Jesus have a funeral and is it alright NOT to have one?

Dear Pete, 

It is OK not to have a funeral.

 

However, here are some thoughts to consider as you make your decision.

 

A funeral is not necessarily for you, it’s for the ones you leave behind.

 

While you’re alive, you certainly have the primary input into what you’d like to include in your funeral service. For most people these are the things for which they’d like to be remembered. But, but keep in mind your target audience.

 

Here’s some reasons why you might want to have a funeral service.

 

  • A funeral service can provide a time of closure.

 

It’s like, “Well, it’s time to begin moving along.” There comes a time when it’s okay to pick up the pieces and start over.

 

  • A Funeral Can Provide An Opportunity To Reflect On The Life Of The Departed Loved One. There May Be Some Things From His/Her Life To Emulate.

 

An eulogy can provide an overview of the life of the departed. This is especially important to help people fill in the gaps since most people only knew the deceased at different times in his/her life.

 

Sometimes the loved one is not very lovable. He/she may have caused such pain and hurt that it may be best not to have a funeral at all.

 

  • A Funeral Can Be A Time Of Celebration, But Not At The Expense Of Mourning.

 

What stands out most in biblical burials is an intense time of grief and mourning.

 

Jesus said, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5: 4).

 

According to the biblical examples, there ought to be a lot of tears at a funeral. Grieving is one of the five or six essential stages that can facilitate healing.

 

  1. Shock
  2. Denial
  3. Grief
  4. Anger
  5. Depression
  6. Resolution

These stages often occur in this order but usually not. Often we suffer a mixture of two or more simultaneously.

 

Don’t try to mourn alone. After all, it takes one to mourn and one to comfort.

 

  • A Funeral Reminds Us That Jesus Promised To Cheat Death And If We Believe In Him As Our Lord And Savior, So Can We (John: 25-26)!

 

What Do Biblical Burials Look Like?

 

Much mourning took place (Deuteronomy 34:8).

Shaved heads, sackcloth and ashes demonstrated deep grief (Isaiah 61:3).

Torrn clothes were associated with grief, and loss (Genesis 37:29; Psalm 30:11).

Bodies were washed the same day as the death in order to minimize the effects of decomposition (John 11:39}.

Aromatic spices were sprinkled into the burial cloth as it was wrapped around the body (John 19:40).

Most individuals were buried in the ground (Jeremiah 26:23). Others were laid to rest in caves or sepulchers hewn out of limestone (Matthew 26:12).

 

As best as I can tell, Jesus never had a funeral. After Pilate condemned him, he was dragged straight to Golgotha where he was crucified. If Jesus had any kind of funeral it would be the short eulogy delivered by one of the thieves on the cross: “This man has done nothing wrong.”

Then they took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury(John 19:40).

 

All that being said, it’s okay for you not to have a funeral if you so choose. Personally, the following process is a little unorthodox, but you might consider including your loved ones as you make your final decisions.

 

I hope my thoughts are helpful and I hope that God grants you many wonderful years ahead.

 

Sincerely, Roger

 

 

Jesus was buried in a tomb carved out of a rock-mass. (Mark 15:46) Such a grave commonly had a narrow entrance. Inside, a number of niches, or shelf like spaces, were cut into the rock, where the bodies of deceased family members would be placed. After the flesh decomposed, the dried bones were collected and put in a stone box called an ossuary, as was the custom in Jesus’ time. In this way, the family could make space in the tomb for future burials.

 

Sincerely,, Roger

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