Joseph of Arimathea

Who was Joseph of Arimathea?

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Joseph of Arimathea
JOHN 19 COMMENTARY
John 19:31-33 Broken Legs
John 19:34-37 Blood and Water

John 19:38-42 Joseph of Arimathea

John 20 Bible Study
JOHN 19:38  38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.

Who was "Joseph of Arimathea" (John 19:38)?
Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council: "Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God" (Luke 23:50-51).

Where had Joseph of Arimathea been when Jesus was crucified?
As a member of the Sanhedrin, he may have had 'front row' view of the crucifixion.

If so, how must he have felt?
"Being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews" (John 19:38), Joseph of Arimathea would have been shattered inside at seeing His Lord crucified and at his own cowardice, silence and inability to prevent it.

How did he change after Jesus died?
He mustered enough "courage" to ask Pontius Pilate for Jesus' dead body: "Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph" (Mark 15:43-45).

What does Pilate granting the body of Jesus to Joseph imply?
No member of Jesus' family asked Pilate for His body.

JOHN 19:39  39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred litras.

Who is "Nicodemus"?
Another member of the Sanhedrin, and the one who had come to Jesus at night early in His ministry (see John 3). Nicodemus probably never imagined then that he would be one of the two who would bury Jesus' body.

How much mixture of myrrh and aloes did Nicodemus bring?
One Roman litra was 328 grams or about 72% of an American pound. So "about a hundred litras" (John 19:39) was about 33 kilograms or 72 American pounds. This is far more than was typically used to treat a corpse before burial. Nicodemus' "myrrh and aloes" (John 19:39) would have filled the tomb with fragrance.

JOHN 19:40-42  40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

Who brought the "linen" (John 19:40)?
Joseph of Arimathea: "Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid." (Mark 15:46-47)

Where was Mary, the mother of Jesus?
John had taken her to his home before Jesus died (see His mother). Mary never saw or touch, let alone cradle as popularized by Roman Catholic art, the dead body of Jesus.

How "nearby" (John 19:42) was the tomb to Golgotha?
90 meters.

How ironic is it that two members of the council that caused Jesus to be crucified should also bury Him?
What required Jesus to die on the cross wasn't the Sanhedrin but the death penalty required for sins, which both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had.

Should you feel any less remorse today than Joseph of Arimathea felt then, over your sins that required Jesus to be crucified on the cross?
 

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