And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews…
Of all the scenes of common life, there is none so affecting and instructive as the funeral of a friend. When heroes or a beloved monarch go to their last home, thousands gather round the tomb. Shall the great Saviour and King of men have no one among us to lament His death?
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS BURIAL.
1. The persons who are bearing the blessed Jesus to His tomb. And who are they? The disciples? These "all forsook Him and fled;" and now He is dead, they leave His body to be mourned over and buried by others. But though, in the hour of need, they desert us who ought to be the first to minister to our necessities, yet "the Lord will provide."
2. The time in which Jesus was interred. "The Jews' preparation day," and the people were now attending the service of the Temple; but Joseph and Nicodemus were not among them. They offered to God a more acceptable service than prayers and sacrifice; but having buried the Saviour, all their love for Him could not bring them to His tomb till the Sabbath was ended. Thus did they manifest the ardour of their affection, and at the same time admonish us to suppress the noblest feelings of our nature, rather than violate the command of God.
3. The place where the Lord was interred.
(1) A garden on the very hill on which He was crucified. It was right that the place where He suffered the greatest ignominy should be the first scene of His glory.
(2) His sepulchre was "hewn out in a rock." A body could not hastily be removed from such a sepulchre by a subterraneous passage, nor could the disciples enter unperceived.
II. WHY WAS HE THUS BURIED?
1. That the prophecies concerning the Messiah should be fulfilled.
2. To prove the reality of His death.
3. To comfort His people in the prospect of death.
III. THE EFFECTS WHICH A CONTEMPLATION OF THE SAVIOUR'S TOMB SHOULD PRODUCE ON US.
1. A penitential sorrow for all the injuries we have done Him, and all the pain we have given Him.
2. Joy that His sufferings are past and His happiness begun.
3. An earnest desire to be where He is and to behold His glory.
4. The deepest anxiety to be prepared for our own latter end.
(C. Bradley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
WEB: After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body.