Biblical references: Matthew 27:45-61; Mark 15:33-47; Luke 23:44-55; John 19:28-42.
“Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.” (Luke 23:50-51 NLT)
Darkness came over the land during the crucifixion of Christ, and at about three p.m. Jesus breathed His last breath. Suddenly, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs broke open. The bodies of many resurrected saints left their graves after Jesus had risen, and they went into Jerusalem and were seen by others (Matthew 27:50-53 NIV).
Jesus was treated like a criminal and was crucified between two thieves, but He was buried in a rich man’s tomb. The tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council that wanted Jesus to be put to death. Joseph did not agree with them and became a follower of Christ. He did so secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. But after the crucifixion, he went boldly to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. With Pilate’s permission and with the help of Nicodemus, who was also a member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph took Jesus’ body down from the cross. Nicodemus, who had previously visited Jesus one night (John 3:1-21), brought a mixture of approximately seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. They wrapped the body in linen cloths with the spices and placed it in Joseph’s new tomb.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus put their personal and professional lives at risk to bury Jesus. They came forth at the right time and fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy.
“He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave.” (Isaiah 53:9 NLT)
Father, thank You for Joseph of Arimathea, who gave Jesus an honorable burial and fulfilled prophecy. Your timing and Your ways are always perfect. We rejoice that on the third day after Jesus’ death, He rose from the dead. In Jesus' name. Amen.