Saturday 31 March 2018

Bible Book:

“In the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” (vv. 41b-42)

John 19:38-42 Saturday 31 March 2018

Psalm: Psalm 31


The bodies of crucified criminals were usually left on the crosses to be food for birds and a warning to other would-be insurgents. Jesus, however, had influential and wealthy friends who were prepared to take risks and to go to considerable expense in order to provide for him a decent burial.

Those influential friends were two of Jesus’ disciples, but not amongst those who had been openly following him: Joseph of Arimathea was described as “a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one” (v. 38); Nicodemus, John reminds us, “had first come to Jesus by night” (v. 39) (see John 3) (presumably so that no-one else would know of his visit). It is worth noting that Nicodemus had spoken against other Pharisees in defence of Jesus (John 6:50-51), but the picture that John’s Gospel gives us is that these two had been afraid to be open about their discipleship whilst Jesus was alive; now he was dead they demonstrated remarkable courage and generosity by associating themselves with what appeared to be a lost cause. Not only did they take a personal risk, they spent a considerable amount of money as the quantity of spices that Nicodemus provided was enormous (verse 39).

The evangelist stresses that the burial is according to Jewish custom. The fourth Gospel has been used to support anti-Semitic attitudes because the opponents of Jesus are sometimes referred to simply as “the Jews” (eg John 7:1). But here, John reminds us that Jesus was himself a faithful Jew and amongst his followers were some of the most devout followers of their religion.

The evangelist is silent on who owned the tomb in which Jesus was laid; it was convenient and because in John’s reckoning the next day was both the Sabbath and the Passover there was an urgency about the two disciples completing the task. The other perspective, of course, is one of anticipation. Now that Jesus has accomplished all that he was to do for the glory of the Father, we wait for the resurrection and final vindication.

To Ponder

  • Many Christians today can only practise their faith in secret. Are you aware of their needs? Take the opportunity to remember them in your prayers today.
  • Joseph and Nicodemus were much bolder after Jesus’ death than before. Have you ever done something because you regret not doing more earlier? What was the outcome?
Previous Page Friday 30 March 2018
Next Page Sunday 18 March 2018