50 And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; 52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. 54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.
And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Observation – What does it say?
- The Council was not unanimous in its decision about Jesus.
- Joseph from Arimathea was a member of the Council
- Joseph did not agree with the plan
- Joseph was a righteous man
- Arimathia was a city of the Jews
- Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God.
- Joesph went to Pilate to request the body of Jesus
- Joseph took the body down from the cross.
- Joseph wrapped the body of Jesus in a linen cloth
- Joesph laid Jesus in a tomb
- The tomb was carved out of the rock.
- No one had been laid in the tomb prior to Jesus being laid there.
- Jesus died on the preparation day
- The Sabbath was about to begin when Joseph laid Jesus in the Tomb
- The women who can with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph to the tomb
- The women saw the tomb where Jesus was laid
- The women saw how Jesus was laid in the tomb
- The women prepared spices and perfumes
- On the Sabbath the women rested
Interpretation – What does it mean?
During this first century in Palestine tombs were family tombs. Usually, tombs that were carved into a hill or mountain side were own by very wealthy families. Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that Joseph of Arimathea was from a very wealthy family. It is unusual that he would bury Jesus in his family tomb since Jesus was not a member of his family.
During the first century bodies were placed in an tomb and allowed to decay. Once they reached a point they could dismembered. They were placed in a small box called an Ossuary. The Ossuary was a bone box. It only needed to be large enough to hold the largest bone typically the femur. The Ossuary was then moved to another area next to the original tomb making way for another body to be placed in the tomb. Jesus’ body was laid were no other body had ever laid.
Once the body was placed in the tomb, the tomb would then be sealed usually with a large stone that was cut to into a large circle. There was a grove in the front of the tomb where the stone would fit. This would keep the stone falling or being removed easily. Since it was almost sabbath Jesus body had to be placed in the tomb quickly.
Joseph of Arimathea wrapped Jesus’ body in a linen cloth. This meant he had to touch Jesus. He touched a dead body. He was now unclean. Unclean at passover. Unclean on the sabbath. Being unclean meant he could not celebrate the passover with his family.
Application – How does it work?
Jesus was dead. Not asleep, not unconscious, not really really sick or wounded. He was dead! And dead is dead. Joseph was a righteous man and as such he cared for Jesus body. Additionally, he did not approve of what they did to Jesus. Being righteous cost him. Be prepared to pay a price to do what is right and just.