Passion Week – The Burial

Passion Week – The Burial

Passion Week

Day Seven – Saturday
Scripture Passage – John 19: 38-42
Parallel Passages in other Gospels for further reading: Matthew 27: 57-61,

Mark 15: 42-47, Luke 23: 50-56

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with the Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Thoughts from Mark Harvey:
Burial – the ritual of placing a corpse in a grave. Funeral – the ceremony at which an individual is buried. I don’t like going to funerals! Of all of the things that I sometimes must do, this is the thing that I dislike doing the most. We attend funerals out of respect and love for the individual. Funerals are usually sad! There is a feeling of finality at a funeral, but the hope that we have, if we have accepted Christ as our Savior, is that we will one day see the individual who has passed (if they also accepted Christ). I have been a participant in two funerals, as I was a pall-bearer for two of my wife’s grandparents. I remember both of these services very clearly and I took my role in both of these services very seriously as I wanted to show my love to and respect to my wife and my respect for her family through my act of service.

In today’s text, we read about Joseph of Arimathea, who is burying our Savior! As it is with our customs, it was and remains very important for the Jews to give their family or friends a proper burial. As the scripture states, Joseph of Arimathea had to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus, so that he could bury it. Ordinarily if a Jew was crucified for a crime, the Jew would remain on the cross until the body completely decayed and/or eaten by the birds. For Joseph, who was a Jew, to enter into the court of a Gentile to ask for Jesus’ body, actually made Joseph ceremoniously unclean to partake in the Passover. It was nothing short of a miracle that Pilate granted Joseph’s request to give him the body of Jesus to bury.

Jesus died just a few hours before the beginning of the Passover, and because of that, Joseph knew that it was very important that he bury Jesus before the beginning of the Passover – this type of activity was not allowed during the Passover. Joseph prepared the body of Jesus for burial and placed him in a tomb which had not been used. Due to the fact that Joseph prepared Jesus body for burial, he would have again been considered unclean to partake in the Passover.

Joseph’s total disregard for the actual Passover, and his concentration on obtaining Jesus’ body for burial showed Joseph’s great love for Jesus! You see Joseph understood that Jesus was the Messiah, the real Passover Lamb, who was sent to be our Savior!

Some questions to think about:
Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. How would you have felt, being a Jew and going to Pilate, who had just presided over Jesus’ death (even though he washed his hands of the procedure) and asking him for the body of Jesus so that you could bury it? How would you have felt about being the one to bury Jesus? Do you love Jesus in the same manner that Joseph did? Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

Suggested Direction for Prayer:
God, thank you for sending Jesus to be born in human form, to die for my sins, to be buried in a tomb, and to rise from the tomb on the third day! Thanks for your love of all sinners such as me!