About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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 The Burial Of Jesus (ch. 19:38-42)

 

In verse 38 John introduces us to a man called Joseph of Arimathea.  He was a rich man and part of the Sanhedrin, the 70 member group of men who ruled the Jews.  John also tells us that he was a secret believer because he feared the Jews, meaning, he feared his colleagues in the Sanhedrin.  He definitely had first hand knowledge of how the men in the Sanhedrin felt about Jesus, so you can understand his concern.    

 

The Jewish leadership at this point already asked Pilate to have the bodies of the three men removed from the crosses.  It must have been soon after that Joseph overcame his fear and went to Pilate and asked him if he could take Jesusí body and give him a proper burial.  Joseph came out of his closet so to speak and was taking a major leap of faith.

 

Jesus died about 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  Sunset would have been around 6 o'clock in what we would call evening.  It was at that time that the Jewish day would start, and this particular day that was about to start was the Sabbath.  For this reason, within a 3 hour period of time, Joseph, and those with him had to take Jesus from the cross, wrap Him in burial clothes, put Him in the tomb and secure the stone that closed the tomb.  A lot had to be done in a short time.

 

In those days the Jews would wrap a dead body in layers of clothe.  Between each layer they rubbed the clothes with spices that would act as both glue and a means to lesson the smell of a rotting body.           

 

In verse 39 we see that Joseph was not alone in the burial process.  His friend Nicodemus, also a member of the Sanhedrin, who met Jesus by night in John 3, was with him.  It appears then that Nicodemus became a disciple as well.  Matthew and Mark also tell us that certain women were at the tomb as well.  

 

It is note worthy that none of the other eleven apostles were at the tomb.  They had left in their time of trial.  As is often pointed out, the eleven apostles were not at the tomb but the women were.  

 

In verse 39 through 41 we see that Nicodemus brought 75 pounds worth of spices to anoint and prepare Jesusí body for burial.  There was a brand new, never used, burial tomb close by so they buried Jesus there.  John doesnít tell us but Matthew does, that this tomb was owned by Joseph of Arimathea.

 

John notes one reason why they chose Josephís tomb and that was because it was close by, but since Matthew tells us the tomb belonged to Joseph, that also played a part in the choice of where Jesus was to be buried.

 

Psalm 16:10 predicts that Jesusí body would not suffer decay, and it didn't.  The Apostle Peter noted this in his message on the day of Pentecost as seen in Acts 2.  Being placed in a never before used tomb seems to fulfill the prediction of Isaiah 53:9 that states Jesus would be buried with the rich.

 

In verse 42 we see that Jesus died on Preparation Day, the day the Jews would prepare for the next day's Sabbath rest.  It is my thinking at present that the next day that was a Sabbath was the first day of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread.    

   

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