burial. | John 19.38-42
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. John 19.38-42 | ESV
Now after all of this had played out as it did, Pilate had one more request, this time from a man named Joseph from the Heights (local town – Ramah, or Arimathea), he was in reality a Jesus follower, but he kept that very quiet since he feared the reaction of his religious peers. Joseph asked Pilate for permission to take the body of Jesus for a proper burial, and Pilate acquiesced to his request.
So Joseph went and claimed the body – with Nicodemus in tow (you remember him – the one who approached Jesus that one night). Nicodemus had his own contribution: a jar of fragrant myrrh and aloes to prepare the corpse properly for entombment. A jar nothing! It was more like a barrel – he brought nearly 75 pounds of it!
So they commenced their labor of love, taking the body and wrapping it in a cocoon of linen strips interlaced with the spices, which was the custom in those parts – at least for more upscale burials. And they didn’t have to carry the body far. Not far from the Skull, the execution spot, was a garden spot, and in that garden was a family burial tomb as yet unused by anyone. They didn’t waste any time – the Sabbath celebration was coming on quickly, and the tomb was right there, so that’s where they put Jesus.
MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
Once again pan to the right and watch Joseph tentatively stepping into Pilate’s palace, risking the defilement and the loss of Passover privileges, asking for the body of Jesus. Now follow him back to the cross where you sit, still. Watch as Nicodemus joins his solemn, lonely procession. Smell the fragrant spices he carries, let that aroma mingle with the smell of death all around you. Watch as they gently carry the body of Jesus away.
See them spot the tomb.
Watch them lay Jesus to rest there.
Watch them meticulously, tenderly, wrap that body with the linen strips, smell the overpowering fragrance as seventy-five pounds of spices are wrapped up in those linen strips.
Watch them roll the stone over the entrance and walk away.
Sit in the silence of the darkening tomb.
Hold your breath. And then…breathe.
How is the Spirit nudging you to minister to the body of Jesus right now? What spices can you bring?
Lord, birth the prayer of Job within me as I witness these Golgotha scenes:
“I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me.
I should never have opened my mouth!
I’ve talked too much, way too much.
I’m ready to shut up and listen.”