Archive for August 15th, 2018

John 19:38-42

In John 19:38-42 we finish the chapter on Jesus crucifixion. Customarily, the bodies of crucified criminals were left on their crosses to rot or be eaten by wild animals. But the Jews did not want a display like that during the Passover season.  The Roman soldiers were known to grant the bodies of executed men to friends or relatives for proper burial. So a couple of religious leaders who had secretly followed Jesus ministry come and ask for Jesus’ body. “Afterwards Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jewish leaders, boldly asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body down; and Pilate told him to go ahead.” He has new found boldness now for some reason.

But it wasn’t just Joseph of Arimathea that wanted to take care of Jesus.  Another secret followers named Nicodemus came bringing spices to put with the body. “So he came and took it away. Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night, came too, bringing a hundred pounds of embalming ointment made from myrrh and aloes.”  Joseph and Nicodemus followed the burial customs of that day – the best they could, considering that they had very little time because the Sabbath was almost there.  “Together they wrapped Jesus’ body in a long linen cloth saturated with the spices, as is the Jewish custom of burial.”

Guzik writes “Joseph and Nicodemus served Jesus too late. Not too late to fulfill prophecy, not too late to be of thoughtful service to Jesus. But too late to satisfy their own timid hearts; too late to escape the painful regret of what they might have been and what they might have done for Jesus. May we never wait to give ourselves fully to Jesus.” The reality is that we are all sinners and timid like these two.  We may seek the truth about Jesus, but knowing about Him is not enough. We must know Him.  We must believe in Him.  We must make Him our own Savior and when we do He also becomes our Lord.  Following Jesus requires action.

A rich man like Joseph of Arimethea would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion. “The place of crucifixion was near a grove of trees, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because of the need for haste before the Sabbath, and because the tomb was close at hand, they laid him there.” The tomb of Joseph of Arimathea that Jesus was laid in was close to the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. Tombs like this were very expensive. It was quite a sacrifice for Joseph of Arimathea to give his up – but Jesus would only use it for a few days!

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