Jesus is Buried in a Borrowed Tomb

Harry Truman told the story of a man who was hit on the head and fell into a deep coma. He stayed there a long time. People thought he was dead so they sent him to a funeral home and stuck him in a coffin. At two o’clock in the morning, all alone in this dimly lit room, he … More


Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy and honored member of the Jewish council. He was also a secret disciple of Jesus (John 19:38). When Jesus died, Joseph immediately went to Pilate and asked for  permission to have His body so he could give it a decent burial (vv. 50-52). The disciples who had publicly followed Jesus fled, but Joseph boldly took a stand that could have cost him dearly. Criminals in those days lost their right to a proper burial and the Romans would have thrown His body on the garbage dump outside the city. Instead, God saw to it that His Son’s body was buried with dignity and love.

Joseph and his friend Nicodemus were both members of the council (Sanhedrin), but evidently were not present at the meeting where they decided to have Jesus crucified (John 19:38-42). Mark 14:64 states that the whole council condemned Him, and that could not have happened if Joseph and Nicodemus had been there.

These two men tenderly took Jesus from the cross and carried His body to a new tomb that was likely Joseph’s. This tomb was prepared in a garden near Golgotha and one in which no man had been laid before (vv. 53-56). It was likely a man-made cave cut out of one of the many limestone hills in the area around Jerusalem. Such a tomb was large enough to walk into. As a tourist to Israel I have visited a site known as Gordon’s tomb which I feel is probably this tomb. They carefully wrapped Jesus’ body in long strips of cloth, pouring in a mixture of myrrh and aloes (John 19:39). Both of these spices were obtained from trees and were expensive. It states in the book of John that Nicodemus contributed about a hundred pound weight of these spices, which was an amount fit for royalty.


Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were very bold in their arranging for the burial of Jesus. My desire is that I will be able to be a bold witness for the Lord in every situation.

Luke 23:50-56 (English Standard Version)

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