The Burial of Jesus: Matthew 27:57-61
“57) When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58) This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59) And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60) and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61) And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.” Matthew‬ ‭27‬:‭57‬-‭61‬
Matthew moves quickly from the crucifixion to the burial of Jesus. John gives a more detailed account of the soldiers thrusting the spear into His side. (See John 19:32-37) He also mentions that Nicodemus came with Joseph to care for the body. (John 19:38-39) It appears that the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus was very effective. (Review John 3:1-21)
This now becomes intriguing, because both men seemed to be members of the counsel responsible for the condemnation of Jesus. (See Mark 15:43) Both had become secret followers of Jesus. It seems that Joseph gathered courage quicker to ask Pilate for the body. I commend this public act. Luke 23:51 says Joseph did not consent to the plan or action against Jesus. I am confident there were others in opposition whose voices were silenced. A tragedy of politics is that the minority can easily be silenced.
To their credit, they gathered the courage to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. The text mentioned Joseph was a rich man. Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes. (John 19:39) They wrapped the body in clean linen cloth. Joseph gave up his own newly hewn tomb. They rolled a large stone over the tomb to seal the entrance.
It appears that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were sitting opposite the grave watching the ritual. (Mark 15:47) The body was prepared and placed in the tomb quickly because of the onset of decay. The burial of Lazarus gives insight on the urgent timing of burial. (See John 11:39)
However, we are now confronted with a stunning omission in all four Gospels. I never noticed this previously, but though Jesus had many followers in Jerusalem, He never received a formal funeral service. His family never showed up. His disciples and friends were absent. There was no procession to the cemetery. No one pronounced a eulogy over His grave. There ware a scant four people present for a short time and then they faded away.
Ok, I understand it was the Passover and the Sabbath, but there is no mention of anything even being planned for a funeral service. The reader must ask “Why?” I believe it had something to do with His often repeated promise of being raised from the dead on the third day. (See Matthew 16:21) His followers were genuinely caught in a crisis of faith. After all, why conduct a funeral for a man who warned He was not going to stay in the grave?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global