|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:38-42 Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Christ in secret. Disciples should openly own themselves; yet some, who in lesser trials have been fearful, in greater have been courageous. When God has work to do, he can find out such as are proper to do it. The embalming was done by Nicodemus, a secret friend to Christ, though not his constant follower. That grace which at first is like a bruised reed, may afterward resemble a strong cedar. Hereby these two rich men showed the value they had for Christ's person and doctrine, and that it was not lessened by the reproach of the cross. We must do our duty as the present day and opportunity are, and leave it to God to fulfil his promises in his own way and his own time. The grave of Jesus was appointed with the wicked, as was the case of those who suffered as criminals; but he was with the rich in his death, as prophesied, Isa 53:9; these two circumstances it was very unlikely should ever be united in the same person. He was buried in a new sepulchre; therefore it could not be said that it was not he, but some other that rose. We also are here taught not to be particular as to the place of our burial. He was buried in the sepulchre next at hand. Here is the Sun of Righteousness set for a while, to rise again in greater glory, and then to set no more.
Verse 41. - Now there was in the place where he was crucified, close at hand to the very cross, a garden, and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein as yet no man was laid (on site, see ver. 17, notes). John alone tells us of the "garden;" and he clearly saw the significance of the resemblance to the "garden" where Christ agonized unto death, and was betrayed with a kiss, and also to the garden where the first Adam fell from the high estate of posse non peccare. We are not told, however, by him that this sepulcher was Joseph's own (Matthew gives this explanation), nor that it was cut out of a rock, nor the nature or quality of it. Matthew, Luke, and John remark that it was καίνον, not simply νέον, recently made, but new in the sense of being as yet unused, thus preventing the possibility of any confusion, or any subordinate miracle, such as happened at the grave of Elisha (2 Kings 13:21), and so our Lord's sacred body came into no contact with corruption. Thus from the hour of death, in which the love of God in Christ is seen at its most dazzling moral luster, and the glorification of Christ in his Passion reaches its climax, death itself beaus to put on new unexpected forms and charms:
(1) the symbolic effusion of water and blood;
(2) the costly unguent spices and honorable burial lavished on One who had been put under ban, and had died the doom of the slave;
(3) the garden and the watchers.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now in the place where he was crucified,.... Which takes in all that spot of ground that lay on that side of the city where he was crucified; or near to the place of his crucifixion, for it was not a garden in which he was crucified:
there was a garden; all gardens, except rose gardens, were without the city, as has been observed; see Gill on John 18:1. This, it seems, belonged to Joseph: rich men used to have their gardens without the city for their convenience and pleasure:
and in the garden a new sepulchre; they might not bury within the city. Some chose to make their sepulchres in their gardens, to put them in mind of their mortality, when they took their walks there; so R. Dustai, R. Janhal, and R. Nehurai, were buried, "in a garden", or orchard (f); and so were Manasseh and Amon, kings of Judah, 2 Kings 21:18. Here Joseph had one, hewn out in a rock, for himself and family, and was newly made. The Jews distinguish between an old, and a new sepulchre; they say (g),
, "a new sepulchre" may be measured and sold, and divided, but an old one might not be measured, nor sold, nor divided.''
Wherein was never man yet laid; this is not improperly, nor impertinently added, though the evangelist had before said, that it was a new sepulchre; for that it might be, and yet bodies have been lain in it; for according to the Jewish canons (h),
"there is as a new sepulchre, which is an old one; and there is an old one, which is as a new one; an old sepulchre, in which lie ten dead bodies, which are not in the power of the owners, , "lo, this is as a new sepulchre".''
Now Christ was laid in such an one, where no man had been laid, that it might appear certainly that it was he, and not another, that was risen from the dead.
(f) Jechus haabot, p. 43. Ed. Hottinger. (g) Massech. Sernacot, c. 24. fol. 16. 3.((h) Ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
41, 42. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre—The choice of this tomb was, on their part, dictated by the double circumstance that it was so near at hand, and by its belonging to a friend of the Lord; and as there was need of haste, even they would be struck with the providence which thus supplied it. "There laid they Jesus therefore, because of the Jew's preparation day, for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." But there was one recommendation of it which probably would not strike them; but God had it in view. Not its being "hewn out of a rock" (Mr 15:46), accessible only at the entrance, which doubtless would impress them with its security and suitableness. But it was "a new sepulchre" (Joh 19:41), "wherein never man before was laid" (Lu 23:53): and Matthew (Mt 27:60) says that Joseph laid Him "in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock"—doubtless for his own use, though the Lord had higher use for it. Thus as He rode into Jerusalem on an ass "whereon never man before had sat" (Mr 11:2), so now He shall lie in a tomb wherein never man before had lain, that from these specimens it may be seen that in all things He was "SEPARATE FROM SINNERS" (Heb 7:26).
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