Jesus dead in Mary's arms - La Pieta

From Good Friday to Holy Saturday: Jesus is Buried

As we continue our walk through Holy Week, we come upon some interesting religious traditions. Since Jesus was crucified on a Friday, the Jewish Sabbath was quickly approaching. What happened in the temple? Who buried Jesus?

What happened after Jesus died that’s so important?

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.

Mark 15:37-41

Note that the women were the last ones at the cross and then the first ones at the tomb on Sunday.

Fulfilling Bible Prophecy

It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

John 19:31-37

Here are two bible prophecies that were fulfilled:

For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

Psalm 34:20

Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.

Zechariah 12:10

Jesus is Buried

A tomb in Israel

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

John 19:38-42

Who Buried Jesus?

John tells of two men who took it upon themselves to take care of Jesus’ body and see that it was buried properly according to Jewish tradition.

Joseph of Arimethia

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

Luke, the historian, tells us that Joseph was very rich and a member of the high council. That’s like the board of deacons or the council of elders in a church. More than likely, he was educated and new the Torah and Old Testament scriptures well. Yet, he was a follower of Jesus. He got it. He believed that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and that He came to usher in the Kingdom of God.

Nicodemus

We met Nicodemus in John 3 where, in the dark of night, he goes to find Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee — a Jewish religious leader. The Pharisees were a sect of the Jewish religion. Like Christianity today, there were many schools of thought within Judaism. The majority of the Pharisees disagreed with what Jesus taught. However, Nicodemus, was curious. What Jesus was saying was starting to making sense. Here he joins a fellow Jewish leader in burying the King of the Jews.

As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.

Luke 23:55-56

The Sabbath dawns and the Pharisees and Romans are worried

The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”

Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

Matthew 27:62-66

And so we are on Holy Saturday. Next, how the disciples must have felt.

Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!

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