JOHN 19:38-42 SO THERE THEY LAID JESUS, BECAUSE OF THE JEWS’ PREPARATION DAY, FOR THE TOMB WAS NEARBY

22Mar

John 19:38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

 Here we see the secret disciples come forward when all the others have forsaken Jesus and are hiding. These guys come at the perfect time so the last of the prophecies can be fulfilled Isaiah 53:9 And they made His grave with the wicked-But with the rich at His death. These two men give Jesus a burial fit for a King using 100 pounds of very expensive spices, because He is King Jesus and one day will come back to rule and reign. They are running out of time to get Jesus in the grave before the Sabbath starts and also so the 3 days and 3 nights can be fulfilled, so they use the closest available tomb which happens to be Joseph of Arimathea’s. It is done, it is finished, all that is left is for Jesus to come out of the grave and show that He is truly God as if all the miracles He has done is not enough. Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

 

38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.

Mt 27:57; Mr. 15:42; Lu 23:50; Joh 9:22; 12:42

All four evangelists mentioned Joseph of Arimathea but only with Jesus' burial. The Synoptics tell us that he was a God-fearing rich member of the Sanhedrin who was a follower of Jesus and who had not voted to condemn Jesus. Only John identified him as a secret disciple who feared the Jews, namely, the unbelieving Jewish leaders. Jesus had warned His disciples about trying to hide their allegiance to Him (12:42-43). Finally Joseph "broke his cover" by courageously requesting Jesus' body from Pilate.

Jesus'  corpse  would  have  ended  up  in  the  grave  of  a  common criminal but for Joseph's intervention. Pilate probably granted his request for Jesus' body because he realized that Joseph wanted to give Jesus' an honorable burial. That would have humiliated the Jews further.

Joseph's courageous act doubtless alienated him from many of his fellow Sanhedrin members. We do not know what the ultimate consequences of his action were for him. Evidently it was Jesus' death that made him face up to his responsibility to take his stand for Jesus.

I think that he worked up the courage to request an audience with Pilate and then made his request, but not with the arrogance and smugness with which the Jewish religious leaders had dealt with him. His was a humble request, but a reasonable one. Unlike the crucifixion of our Lord, it does not appear to be something that Pilate begrudgingly granted. Indeed, if he felt guilty over condemning an innocent man, he may have felt good that Jesus (this “righteous man,” as Pilate’s own wife had referred to Him—Matthew 27:19) was given an honorable burial. And if the other religious leaders happened not to like it, so much the better.

Gave him leave. According to Roman law. Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the third century, says: “The bodies of those who are capitally punished cannot be denied to their relatives. At this day, however, the bodies of those who are executed are buried only in case permission is asked and granted; and sometimes permission is not given, especially in the cases of those who are punished for high treason. The bodies of the executed are to be given for burial to anyone who asks for them.” Greedy governors sometimes sold this privilege. Cicero, in one of his orations against Verres, has a terribly graphic passage describing such extortions. After dwelling upon the tortures inflicted upon the condemned, he says: “Yet death is the end. It shall not be. Can cruelty go further? [i]

39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Joh 3:1-2; 7:50 This was usually the amount used for a King and He is King Jesus

Can you imagine the cost for that much spices?

The contrast is marked between Nicodemus’ first and his second coming.[ii]

40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

While the Synoptics speak very favorably of Joseph, John is not quite as complimentary in his description of this man. John does not mention that Joseph was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin or that he opposed their efforts to kill Jesus. John describes Joseph only as a disciple who kept his allegiance to Jesus a secret, for fear of the Jews.

It looks as though John wants us to view Joseph as a pretty unlikely candidate to bring about what the Scriptures require, so far as our Lord’s burial is concerned. Added to this is the fact that Nicodemus is just as unlikely. Who can pull off what is required here, and in such a short period of time? From what I know of Nicodemus, and from what little I know of Joseph of Arimathea, these two men would not be at the top of my “most likely to be helpful” list.

So far as their loyalty to our Lord in the past is concerned, these two men are not impressive. But so far as their ability to accomplish the task (of burying Jesus in a kingly fashion), they are well qualified. This is not the time for a family member or a close follower of Jesus to request His body for burial. But Joseph of Arimathea is a member of the Sanhedrin and a very wealthy man. He offers Pilate the opportunity to rid himself of the responsibility for burying the body of Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea is not alone in his efforts to obtain the body of Jesus and to give Him a proper burial. He is working with Nicodemus, another very prominent member of the Sanhedrin. These two men must have begun their association as colleagues on the Council of the Sanhedrin. When Nicodemus objected to the way the Council was proposing to deal with Jesus, Joseph must have taken notice. They may have talked privately and discovered that they were of like mind regarding Jesus. They may have attempted to support each other as they objected to the course the Sanhedrin seemed bent on taking. While Jesus was being crucified, they seem to have mutually agreed upon a plan to obtain His body in order to give Him a proper burial.

One cannot discern from the Gospels just when Joseph and Nicodemus agreed to work together, or when they commenced their efforts to prepare for the burial of Jesus. It may be that Joseph agreed to ask Pilate for permission to remove and bury the Lord’s body. At the same time, Nicodemus could have begun to acquire the necessary spices and material to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. Working together, these two men are able to accomplish something that none of our Lord’s family or His eleven disciples could achieve—they are able to gain access to Pilate and to gain possession of the body of Jesus.

41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.

John is the only evangelist who recorded that there was a garden and an unused new tomb near the place of Jesus' crucifixion. The tomb was probably an artificial cave in the limestone, many examples of which are observable in Palestine. Matthew noted that the garden and its tomb belonged to Joseph (Matt. 27:60). John's mention of the garden prepares for his reference later to a gardener (20:15). His reference to the tomb being new and unused prepares for the Resurrection in which no other corpse was in the tomb (20:8, 12).

"The fall of the first Adam took place in a garden; and it was in a garden that the second Adam redeemed mankind from the consequences of Adam's transgression

Look at Isaiah fifty-three verse nine.  His grave was assigned with wicked man, Yet He was a rich man in His death,
because he had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

We might even say that Jesus was given a burial “fit for a king.”

In his account of the burial of Jesus, John gives us some very important details. He not only mentions Joseph of Arimathea, he tells us about Nicodemus. It is only from John’s Gospel that we even know of Nicodemus. No other Gospel mentions this fellow. Nicodemus is the same man who “came to Jesus by night,” as we read in John 3:1-2, and as he reminds us in 19:39. It is John’s mention of Nicodemus in chapter 7 of his Gospel that now catches my attention. You will remember that Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (7:1-10ff.). The Pharisees and chief priests decided it was time to arrest Jesus, so they sent the temple police to bring Jesus to them (7:32). When these men returned empty-handed, the Pharisees were incensed. The officers explained that they had never heard anyone speak as Jesus did (7:45-49).

Nicodemus then sought to speak a word (cautiously, it would seem) on Jesus’ behalf. He did not openly defend Jesus and His teachings, but he did question his fellow Pharisees about the legality of the method by which they proposed to deal with Him.

John 7:50-52- 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before and who was one of the rulers, said, 51 “Our law doesn’t condemn a man unless it first hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?” 52 They replied, “You aren’t from Galilee too, are you? Investigate carefully and you will see that no prophet comes from Galilee!”

In today’s legal terminology, Nicodemus is objecting that Jesus is not being given “due process of the law.” Jewish law required that charges against Jesus first be substantiated and, after this, that Jesus be given the chance to speak in His own defense. This had not been done, Nicodemus pointed out, and no one seemed to be heading in the direction of making things right. His peers were not at all gentle in the way they responded to his objections. Here was a highly respected teacher of the law, a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, and yet he was dealt with as though he were an incoming freshman. “You are not a Galilean, too, are you?” This was no compliment. It was like saying, “How could you be so ignorant?” And then, adding insult to injury, they challenged Nicodemus to look into this subject more carefully, implying that his grasp of the issues was shallow and superficial.

I must admit that I had nearly written Nicodemus off in chapter 3, but after reading about Nicodemus in chapter 7, I had totally given up on this man. I assumed that he just sort of wilted under the criticism of his peers, never to be heard from again. I now must rethink my hasty conclusion. I believe that Nicodemus rose to the challenge. I think that he did investigate more thoroughly and found that the Scriptures did point to Jesus as the Messiah. Furthermore, I think that as Nicodemus became more convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, he spoke out more openly, and at least one other person on the Council agreed with him—Joseph of Arimathea. I am willing to go even farther. I wonder if it was not because of the objections of Nicodemus (and perhaps Joseph as well) that the Sanhedrin felt compelled to modify the way they sought to deal with Jesus, so that they at least appeared to be following Jewish law. Is this why Jesus was first brought before Annas, and then Caiaphas, and then finally brought before the whole Council? Is this why the assistance of Rome was requested? If this is the case, then Nicodemus contributed greatly to the process which led to our Lord’s crucifixion rather than to death by stoning, as the Jews seemed to prefer. It would also seem that the Sanhedrin voted to hand Jesus over to Pilate, but not without hearing objections from both Joseph and Nicodemus (if, indeed, they were both present). This act of requesting the body of Jesus and giving Him a proper burial may have been a public protest on the part of these two members of the Sanhedrin. All of this would mean that Joseph and Nicodemus were not as passive in their disagreement with their peers on the Sanhedrin as assumed.

It is John’s Gospel alone that informs us of these two men’s lavish use of spices in their preparation of Jesus’ body for burial (19:39-40). From the accounts of the Synoptic Gospels, we might have assumed that our Lord’s body was not even properly prepared for burial. We read there only that the body of Jesus was “wrapped in a clean linen cloth” (Matthew 27:59; see also Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53). We read also in the Synoptics of the intent of the women to return to the tomb and to prepare the Lord’s body with spices (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:55-56; 24:1). It was almost as though the women were unaware of the fact that 100 pounds of spices had been used by Joseph and Nicodemus. Or, perhaps they just felt they could not trust these men to do it right, and they would have to come back later to improve on the work of these two men.

The thing that strikes me in John’s account is that no mention is made of the fact that the tomb in which Jesus was laid was the one that Joseph had custom-built for himself (Matthew 27:60). From a reading of John’s account, one would assume they were carrying the Lord’s body away from the cross and through a garden (only John mentions the garden). It was getting late, and they had no time to lose. There was an available tomb nearby, in the garden, and they made use of it. It appears the reason for using this tomb was not because it belonged to Joseph, but because it was close, and it seemed expedient to use it because they had run out of time.

This makes sense to me. The question which the reader must ask is, “How was it possible for Jesus to be given a rich man’s burial, when none of His eleven disciples were present, and when the time was so short?” Putting together all of the data from the four Gospels, I would conclude that something like this occurred. Joseph and Nicodemus had opposed the Sanhedrin’s plan to kill Jesus. At some time during the crucifixion process, they determined to acquire the body of Jesus to give Him a proper burial. Joseph went to Pilate and obtained the body while Nicodemus acquired the necessary spices and cloth. They both went to the cross, took down the Lord’s body, and wrapped it in a clean linen sheet. They were carrying the body through the garden, noting the lateness of the hour, and wondering what they should do. Joseph may have looked up and seen the freshly-hewn tomb which he had acquired for his own burial (and perhaps for the use of his family as well). Realizing they were out of time, Joseph told Nicodemus that they would stop right here and bury the body of Jesus in his own tomb. There was no time to do anything else.

I am assuming here that Joseph had intended from the beginning to give Jesus a proper burial, but that he had not necessarily planned to bury Jesus in his own tomb. As nightfall approached, Joseph realized that he was in trouble, time-wise. He looked about, and his eyes fixed on his own personal burial place. There was really no other choice, given the time, and so this is the place where they chose to lay the body of Jesus. John tells the story in such a way that the reader sees, once again, the sovereign hand of God, orchestrating these events so that they fulfill the prophecies of old. Jesus was put to death with criminals, but in the final analysis, He was buried with the rich. The One who seemed destined to be buried on “boot hill” is now buried on “snob hill.” And in so doing, prophecy is once again fulfilled.

Note, incidentally, that John does not tell us every time that a prophecy is fulfilled. Three times in his account of our Lord’s death he indicates that the details of Jesus’ death fulfilled prophecy. But here he does not tell us that the Scriptures were fulfilled, even though they were. I believe John expects his readers to figure some things out for themselves. A good teacher does not give the student the answer to every question. A good teacher teaches the student how to find the answers to his questions. John is a good teacher.

42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby. Isa 53:9; Joh 19:31

Preparation Day - the day immediately before the Sabbath and other Jewish festivals. Preparation Day always fell on Friday among the Jewish people, because all religious festivals began on the Sabbath, or Saturday (Matt. 27:62; John 19:14, 31).

With a week of holidays ahead, the Preparation Day for the Passover was especially busy. The details for preparing the Passover supper had to be completed by afternoon. Preparations included baking the unleavened bread, gathering festive garments to wear for the occasion, and taking a ceremonial bath.

But above all, the Passover lamb had to be slain. Slaughtering began an hour or more earlier than for the usual daily evening sacrifice. At the Temple, the priests slaughtered thousands of lambs brought in by the people. Their blood was poured at the foot of the altar. Then the lambs were roasted whole in preparation for the Passover meal in each home that evening.[iii]

The chronological reckoning between John’s gospel and the Synoptics presents a challenge, especially in relation to the time of the Last Supper (13:2). While the Synoptics portray the disciples and the Lord at the Last Supper as eating the Passover meal on Thursday evening (Nisan 14) and Jesus being crucified on Friday, John’s gospel states that the Jews did not enter into the Praetorium “lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover” (18:28). So, the disciples had eaten the Passover on Thursday evening, but the Jews had not. In fact, John (19:14) states that Jesus’ trial and crucifixion were on the day of Preparation for the Passover and not after the eating of the Passover, so that with the trial and crucifixion on Friday Christ was actually sacrificed at the same time the Passover lambs were being slain (19:14). The question is, “Why did the disciples eat the Passover meal on Thursday?”

The answer lies in a difference among the Jews in the way they reckoned the beginning and ending of days. From Josephus, the Mishna, and other ancient Jewish sources we learn that the Jews in northern Palestine calculated days from sunrise to sunrise. That area included the region of Galilee, where Jesus and all the disciples, except Judas, had grown up. Apparently most, if not all, of the Pharisees used that system of reckoning. But Jews in the southern part, which centered in Jerusalem, calculated days from sunset to sunset. Because all the priests necessarily lived in or near Jerusalem, as did most of the Sadducees, those groups followed the southern scheme.

That variation doubtlessly caused confusion at times, but it also had some practical benefits. During Passover time, for instance, it allowed for the feast to be celebrated legitimately on two adjoining days, thereby permitting the temple sacrifices to be made over a total period of four hours rather than two. That separation of days may also have had the effect of reducing both regional and religious clashes between the two groups.

On that basis the seeming contradictions in the gospel accounts are easily explained. Being Galileans, Jesus and the disciples considered Passover day to have started at sunrise on Thursday and to end at sunrise on Friday. The Jewish leaders who arrested and tried Jesus, being mostly priests and Sadducees, considered Passover day to begin at sunset on Thursday and end at sunset on Friday. By that variation, predetermined by God’s sovereign provision, Jesus could thereby legitimately celebrate the last Passover meal with His disciples and yet still be sacrificed on Passover day.

Once again one can see how God sovereignly and marvelously provides for the precise fulfillment of His redemptive plan. The MacArthur Study Bible. 1997 (J. MacArthur, Jr., Ed.) (electronic ed.).

DOCETISM : a belief opposed as heresy in early Christianity that Christ only seemed to have a human body and to suffer and die on the cross

  1. God is not interested in outward religion

Mt 15:8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

 Mr. 7:6 He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

  1. You must decide whether to choose the favor of God or of men

Joh 12:43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Joh 7:13 However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews

  1. Is Jesus the real Messiah

You have to decide, there are 300 plus prophecies fulfilled.  The evidence is overwhelming.

Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.

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“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

The world is trying to solve earthly problems that can only be solved with heavenly solutions.

[i] Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Jn 19:38). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

[ii] Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Jn 19:39). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

[iii] Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. 1995 (R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison & Thomas Nelson Publishers, Ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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