Family Study: Matthew 27:32-66


Burial of Jesus, 27:57-61

Ordinarily, there was little ceremony in connection with those crucified, and their bodies would be thrown into a shallow grave or even on a refuse heap. The problem of what to do with the body of Christ was quickly solved, however, by the intervention of Joseph of Arimathaea. The account given in all four gospels (Mk 15:42-47; Lk 23:50-56; Jn 19:38-42) indicates that he was a wealthy and influential man, a member of the Sanhedrin (Lk 23:51), and one who had been secretly a disciple of Jesus (Jn 19:38). He went boldly in to Pilate, although this involved ceremonial defilement for a Jew during the feast, and requested the body of Jesus. Mark 15:44-45 records Pilate’s surprise that Jesus was already dead, his inquiry from the centurion to verify the fact, and his permission to Joseph.

Matthew and the other gospels record the details of His burial. In the custom of the Jews, He was wrapped in clean linen cloth, and His body was placed in a new tomb hewn out of the rock. The stone door was rolled before the opening of the tomb, as they completed the act of burial. Matthew records that the two women, Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary,” identified in Mark 15:47 as “mother of Joses,” watched the burial. John 19:39-40 adds that Nicodemus, who first encountered Jesus in the incident recorded in John 3, participated in the burial, bringing myrrh and aloes of about one hundred pounds, the spices being used to saturate the linen cloths in which the body of Jesus was bound. John also records that the place of burial was in a garden.

The entire burial operation was done with some haste, because the Sabbath, which began at sundown, was already beginning (Mk 15:42; Lk 23:54; Jn 19:42). The Sabbath following the Passover had a special meaning, leading as it did to the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread.


Matthew 27:57-61 Breakdown

33They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”)

Golgotha was a hill which was located outside of the city of Jerusalem.

34and offered Jesus wine mixed with gall to drink. But after tasting it, he would not drink it.

This was a fulfillment of Psalm 69:21. The wine was a painkiller to alleviate some of the pain from the crucifixion. Jesus refused it, because He wanted to be fully alert as He was dying for the sins of the earth.

35When they had crucified him, they divided his clothes by throwing dice.

This is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:18. The Roman soldiers would divide all of the property of the condemned. The only valuable article that Jesus possessed was the robe, which was given to Him at Pilate’s house during His mocking.

36Then they sat down and kept guard over him there.

Psalm 22 predicted that Gentile dogs would gleefully watch the crucifixion of Jesus. Gentile dogs was a metaphor for sodomites. The Roman soldiers sat down to watch Jesus suffer on the cross. This is similar to people going to a violent R-rated movie for entertainment.

37Above his head they put the charge against him, which read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.”

The crime of the individual was written on a sign over the cross. The sign said, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” According to official Roman Law, the crime of Jesus was that He was the King of the Jews.

38Then two outlaws were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

Two other criminals were crucified on each side of Jesus.

39Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross!”

Satan did not want Jesus to die on Passover, because this would be a fulfillment of prophecy. He attempted to kill Jesus before Passover, but he was not able to do so. These taunters could not persuade Jesus to come down from the cross and avenge Himself. This was a fulfillment of Psalm 22.

41In the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law and elders – were mocking him:

This was the spiritual condition of the religious leadership of God’s chosen people.

42“He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the king of Israel! If he comes down now from the cross, we will believe in him!

Even the taunts of the religious leaders would not cause Jesus to come off of the cross and execute vengeance upon those who were mocking Him. This is an example of divine patience and divine love.

43He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!”

This was the result of man’s totally depraved and evil mind. Jesus died for their sins, but their reaction was ridicule.

44The robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him.

Notice that both robbers spoke abusively to Jesus. The other gospels report that one of the robbers had a change of attitude and actually believed in Jesus.

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