Family Study: Matthew 27:57-66 & 28:1-10


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

Jesus’ Burial 57Now when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.

God gave this man riches and power so that he could bury Jesus.

58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered that it be given to him.

After his wife’s dream, three hours of darkness, the questioning of Jesus, and the testimony of the soldiers, the superstitious Pilate was not about to deny this request.

59Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin. He did not agree with the decision to crucify Jesus. He took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

Only loving hands touched the dead body of Jesus. Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped the cloth around the corpse of Jesus.

60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut in the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away.

It is interesting to note that the tomb of Joseph was purchased in Jerusalem and not Arimathea. Joseph may have prepared this tomb in advance.

61(Now Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there, opposite the tomb.)

All of the disciples had deserted Jesus, but not these two women.

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