The Burial of Jesus

Right in the middle of the highway at Midlothian, Virginia, there is a singular monument to an old-time country doctor. He had done such service to the community that the people wanted to erect a memorial to him in the village while he was yet alive, but the doctor was too modest … More

Burial
When the soldiers were through with their gruesome work God had prepared two high ranking men to prepare Jesus body for burial and to place it in a proper tomb. After a crucifixion, the Romans usually left the dead body hanging for the beasts of prey to come and get. However, the Jews  removed exposed bodies. Joseph of Arimathea (a town about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem) and Nicodemus, who were secret disciples, came to prepare Jesus for burial (vv. 38-39). Both men were wealthy and  members of the Sanhedrin. These men were changed more by Jesus death than by His life. Their realization of who He really was brought out their belief, proclamation and action.

Because it was almost the Sabbath (which began at sundown) it was necessary for the burial to take  place quickly. Joseph got permission from Pilate to bury Jesus’ body.  Jewish  burial customs included washing the body and covering it with cloth and oils or spices (v. 40). This is why the hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes were used. It seems evident that Joseph and Nicodemus had carefully planned their activities during the crucifixion. It would have been very hard to secure a tomb at the last minute and they would not have been able to purchase 100 pounds of costly spices so quickly.

As soon as these two men had Jesus’ body prepared for burial they took it and placed it in a new tomb near the place of the crucifixion (vv. 41-42). Matthew records that this was Joseph’s own tomb that he had cut out of the rock (Matt. 27:60). This fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah, though despised and rejected by men, would be with the rich in His death (Isaiah 53:9).

Application

What Joseph and Nicodemus did as an act of love for the body of Jesus was dangerous, costly, and without any personal gain. My service for our Lord should  be equally as courageous and sacrificial and not to please men.

John 19:38-42 (English Standard Version)


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