John Lesson 27 Day 4
9. Joseph came and took the body.
God used these men to protect the body of Jesus. “As Achilles dragged Hector by the heels round the walls of Troy, so would Satan have liked that men should have mauled the dead body of Christ. He would have cast him to the dogs or to the kites if he could have had his way; but so it must not be.” (Spurgeon) (via David Guzik)
It is not precisely said, but the implication is that Joseph and Nicodemus did this themselves. They were wealthy and influential men (Matthew 27:57, Mark 15:43, John 3:1) who could find servants to do the work for them; yet they did this themselves.
The removal of the bloody, dirty body of Jesus from the cross and the iron spikes that held it must have been difficult both practically and emotionally. Joseph and Nicodemus did what they could to wrap the body of Jesus with the myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds Nicodemus brought. Before the body was wrapped it had to be prepared. One of the customs of the Jews in preparing a body for burial is the requirement to remove all foreign matter from the body and to carefully wash it. (David Guzik)
Joseph lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. (MSG)
- He came from the Jewish village of Arimathea.
- Hesitant disciple
- Rich man
- Respected member of the council
- A man of good heart and good character
- He did not go along with the plans and actions of the council.
- Joseph “took courage and ventured to go to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” (Mark 15:43 AMP)
- Joseph himself, perhaps with the help of Nicodemus, removed Jesus’ body from the cross.
- One of the Pharisees, a member of the council known as the Sanhedrin
- The disciple who previously came under the cloak of darkness to question Jesus.
- In Jesus’ defense, Nicodemus spoke up and said, “Does our Law convict a man without giving him a hearing and finding out what he has done?” (John 7:51 AMPC)
- Nicodemus brought one hundred pounds of burial spices.
- Nicodemus and Joseph prepared the body of Jesus for burial.
10. a. Even among the rulers, many secretly believed in Jesus.
- At some point, Joseph and Nicodemus realized that they both believed. We don’t know if or when they had a relationship before the burial.
- Because they didn’t openly acknowledge their belief in Jesus, they missed out on spending time with him.
- Following Jesus wasn’t condoned and certainly not encouraged especially among the Pharisees.
Although Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t follow Jesus openly during his ministry, they did oppose his crucifixion and respectfully care for His body in death. It’s interesting—although Jesus’ literal blood was on their hands, their hands were clean, unlike the crowd who said, “Indeed, let His blood be upon us—upon us and our children!” (Matthew 27:25 Voice)
While it’s easy to say they were cowards, Peter denied Jesus three times, and the other followers now feared for their lives. Nicodemus and Joseph, who just happened to own a newly prepared tomb, now became bold enough to take on this gruesome task and thereby fulfill prophecy. (See part B)
The other Pharisees learned about the burial because the following day, they asked Pilate to seal the tomb and post a guard.
b. The Pharisees continued their threats to expel from the synagogue anyone who followed Jesus.
- Under the law, by touching a human corpse, Joseph and Nicodemus were ceremonially unclean for seven days. (Numbers 19:11 and others)
- It seems they could not celebrate the Passover. (Numbers 9:6)
- If the other Pharisees found out what they did, they might damage their reputations and lose their status.
- “This burial gave both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus a way to proclaim their relationship with Jesus; it called them out of their state of secret discipleship.” (David Guzik)
- “The quantity of one hundred Roman pounds (75 lbs. avdp.) revealed both Nicodemus’s wealth and appreciation of Jesus.” (Tenney)
- They fulfilled prophecy—”He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.” (Isaiah 53:9 NLT)
- By preparing the body with spices and leaving him in a tomb, they demonstrated that Jesus was truly dead.
- Another fulfilled prophecy—”The burial spices and preparations protected His holy body from decay; as it was said in Psalm 16:10 You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay.” (David Guzik)