The Burial Of Jesus - Part Two
Under Roman law the body of a crucified criminal would simply have been discarded without ceremony, but the Jewish law required a proper burial.

No known preparation had been made for Jesus’ burial. However, a rich man from Arimathea (a town east of Joppa), named Joseph, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body for burial. He did this as evening approached, probably about 4 P.M.. This gave urgency to his intended action.
Though Joseph probably lived in Jerusalem he was originally from Arimathea, a village thought to be about 20 miles northwest of the city. He was a wealthy (Matt. 27:57), reputable member of the Council (bouletes), a non-Jewish designation for the Sanhedrin. He had not approved of the Sanhedrin’s decision to kill Jesus (Luke 23:51). He was personally waiting for the kingdom of God (cf. Mark 1:15) which suggests he was a devout Pharisee. Luke tells us he was “a good and upright man who had not consented to their decision” (Luke 23:50-51). He regarded Jesus as the Messiah though so far he was a secret disciple (John 19:38). But he took courage and went to Pilate boldly.
His action was bold because: (a) he was not related to Jesus; (b) his request was a favor that would likely be denied on principle since Jesus had been executed for treason; (c) he risked ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body; (d) his request amounted to an open confession of personal loyalty to the crucified Jesus which would doubtless incur his associates’ hostility. He was a secret disciple no longer. Pilate granted his request, surprised that Jesus was already dead (Mark 15:44-45).
The designation Preparation Day is used here as a technical name for Friday, the day before the Sabbath (our Saturday). Since no work was allowed on the Jewish Sabbath, Friday was used to prepare for it. This reference confirms that Jesus was crucified on Friday, Nisan 15. “Evening” referred to the hours between mid-afternoon and sunset, when Friday ended and the Sabbath began.
Another account reported Joseph was assisted in the burial by Nicodemus (John 19:39; cf. John 3:1-21). These two men took the body of Jesus and following burial customs of the time, wrapped the body in linen with a mixture of myrrh and aloes, spices used in burial (John 19:40; cf. Matt. 2:11). After Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, it was probably washed (Acts 9:37) before it was wrapped tightly in strips of linen cloth with aromatic spices placed between the wraps. It was customary to mix the sweet-smelling gum called myrrh with the powdered aromatic wood of aloes. They are mentioned in Psalms 45:8; Prov. 7:17; Song of Solomon 4:14; 2 Chronicles.16:14. As the winding sheet or strips of linen were wrapped about the body, these spices were scattered in its folds. All this was in accord with Jewish burial customs (John 19:39-40). About 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes was an extensive amount of spices, used in preparing the body for burial. The NIV says 75 pounds. This procedure was done rapidly in order to be completed before the Sabbath began at nightfall.
Joseph placed the wrapped body in his own new tomb cut out of the rock near the place of crucifixion (Matt. 27:60; John 19:41-42). Joseph and Nicodemus rolled a big stone across the tomb’s entrance. Matthew noted that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat across from the tomb (27:61) no doubt in mourning. Interestingly these women accompanied Jesus’ body right up to the minute it was buried, whereas Jesus’ disciples had all abandoned Him (26:56). Little did they realize the tomb and the stone would not contain the body of Jesus on the third day, the first day of the week!

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