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The Exact Confirmation – Signs 1-2

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The Resurrection of Christ Importance of the Resurrection

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the Apostles, no matter how great or marvelous, is secondary to the resurrection in importance. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.

Death is mans greatest enemy and it has conquered all men but Christ. No matter how brilliant or rich or strong he may be, no man is wise enough to outwit death or wealthy enough to purchase freedom from death or strong enough to vanquish death. The grave always wins the victory and man sooner or later returns to the dust.

In fact, the inexorable triumph of death applies not only to man, but to all things. Animals die and plants die, and even whole species atrophy and become extinct. Cities and nations, like people, are born and grow for a season, and then fade away. Homes and automobiles and clothes wear out and must eventually go back to the dust, just as do their owners. Even the universe itself is running down and heading toward an ultimate “heat death.”

This universal reign of decay and death is called in the Bible “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21). In science it has come to be recognized as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Also known as the Law of Increasing Entropy, this Second Law is now recognized as a universal law of science, with no known exception ever observed. It says, quite simply, that every system tends to become disordered, to run down and eventually die. Its entropy, which is a measure of disorder, always tends to increase.

The universality of the reign of decay and death is the measure of the absolute uniqueness of the resurrection of Christ. All other men, even the greatest men and the holiest men, have died. Buddha, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Confucius, Caesar, Marxmen who made a profound impact on the world in one way or anotherare all dead.

But Jesus Christ is alive! It is true that He died and was buried, in common with all other men, but unlike other men He returned from Hades, resurrected His own dead body, made it henceforth immortal, and emerged from the tomb, alive forevermore! This was the greatest of all miracles, and could have been accomplished only if Jesus indeed is God, as He had claimed to be.

In this chapter we wish to examine carefully the actual evidence for His resurrection. If all of this is somehow a delusion and if Jesus of Nazareth did not really rise from the dead, then He is no different from other great men who are also dead. He is worse than they, in fact, because He is thereby branded as either a charlatan or a madman, since He staked all His claims to absolute deity on His promise to return from the dead.

On the other hand, if the resurrection is really a demonstrable fact of history, then not only are His claims vindicated, but so are His promises. Death is not, after all, the great victor, but is a defeated foe. He has “begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). “Now is Christ risen from the dead,… even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22).

The Foundation of Christianity

Without the resurrection it is quite certain there would have been no Christian church. With the ignominious death of their Master, the disciples were utterly confused and afraid for their own lives. There is not the remotest possibility that they could have continued as teachers of the Nazarenes doctrines, and even less that others could have been persuaded to follow them, in those circumstances.

But with their assurance that Christ was alive, they went forth everywhere proclaiming the resurrection, and multitudes became believers in their living Lord. The importance of the resurrection in the preaching of the early church is quickly seen by scanning the book of Acts. (Note Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-18; 4:10-12, 33; 5:29-32; 10:37-43; 13:27-37; 17:2-3, 30-32; 23:6; 24:14-16; 25:19; 26:6-8, 22-23; etc.).

Similarly in the epistles, the resurrection is paramount (e.g., Romans 1:3-4; 6:3-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58; 2 Corinthians 4:10-14; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:19-23; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:14; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:8-11; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 1:21; etc.). Even where the resurrection is not explicitly emphasized, it is always assumed. The final book, Revelation, opens with Christs identification of Himself as “the first begotten of the dead,” and as the one “that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:5, 18).

Predictions of the Resurrection

The resurrection caught the disciples completely by surprise. There is no indication that they had any hope after Christs death. In fact, when they did see Him they were frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:37).

And this was in spite of the fact that they should have known that He would die and rise again, both from the Scriptures and from His own words. He later told them: “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44).

Although the prophecies of His resurrection in the Old Testament were not evident to a superficial reader, they should have been correctly understood by those in Israel who diligently studied the Word. Such prophecies as found in Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:7; Psalm 16:9-11; Psalm 22:14-25; Psalm 30:2-9; Psalm 40:1-3; Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:21-24; Isaiah 53:9-12; Hosea 5:15-6:3; Zechariah 12:10; and others, if carefully studied, would have indicated that the coming Messiah would be put to death and then rise again.

Even if they had not been able to anticipate the resurrection from the Old Testament, however, they had the clear statements to this effect from the lips of Christ Himself. Note John 2:19; Matthew 12:38-42; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:30-32; John 10:17-18; 16:16; and many other passages in the four Gospels. One thing is certain: the disciples could not have fabricated the story of the resurrection from their own imaginations. On the contrary, they somehow failed to anticipate it even after such an abundance of prophetic preparation for it, both from the Scriptures and from Christ. It took the strongest of evidences to convince them it had actually taken place. But once they became convinced, their lives were wholly transformed, and they went forth to live and witness and even to die for their resurrected Lord.

The Empty Tomb

The first evidence the disciples had for the resurrection was that of the empty tomb, and this evidence is still unanswerable. As Peter and John entered the tomb they saw an amazing thing. The heavy wrappings of linen clothes which Joseph and Nicodemus had wound around the body of Jesus (John 19:39-40) were still there, just as they had been, but the body had vanished out of them and the grave clothes had, as it were, collapsed inward on themselves. No wonder the record says that when John entered the tomb, “he saw and believed” (John 20:8). His doubts and fears immediately gave way to an amazed faith; the collapsed grave clothes yielded no possible interpretation except that the body of the crucified Christ had returned to life, in such fantastic form that it could simply pass through the linen wrappings and enter henceforth into the power of an endless life!

Peter and John then rushed back to Johns home, probably to tell Mary, the mother of Jesus, the tremendous news (note John 19:27; 20:10) and, shortly after, the women who had first come to the tomb entered it and also saw the tomb was empty (Luke 24:3).

The fact that the tomb was empty of course shows clearly that the resurrection of Christ was a bodily resurrection, not a spiritual resurrection. The latter idea is a self-contradiction, in fact, because the spirit does not die and therefore cannot be “resurrected.” Indeed, resurrection takes place when the spirit returns to the body from which it has departed.

So powerful is the testimony of the empty tomb that the enemies of Christ have resorted to many strange and wonderful devices to try to explain it away. The first such attempt was the lie that the disciples had stolen the body (Matthew 28:11-15). Such a thing was utterly out of the question, of course. The disciples were hiding in fear of their lives and nothing could possibly have been further from their thoughts than this. Furthermore, the tomb had been sealed, a great stone rolled in front of it, and a watch of Roman soldiers set to guard it (Matthew 27:62-66).

Others, equally desperate for an answer, have suggested that Jesus did not die, but only fainted from weakness. He was buried in the mistaken belief that He was dead, and when He came back to consciousness in the tomb, He arose and left it. How, in His weakened condition, He managed to disengage Himself from the great weight of wrappings and ointments, then break the Roman seal, roll away the giant stone at the entrance, overpower or elude the Roman soldiers, and then search out the disciples, is apparently of little concern to the proponents of this odd theory. Nor do they explain how such a pitiful sight as Jesus must have been, beaten almost beyond recognition and weak past endurance by loss of blood and horrible suffering on the cross, could have excited such a complete transformation in the cowering disciples. He must soon, or at least eventually, die anyhow, and thereafter any preaching of a resurrection could be nothing but fraud and hypocrisy.

Besides all this, there is no doubt that He died on the cross. Pilate was given assurance of this by the centurion (Mark 15:43-45). The savage spear thrust into His side by the soldier (John 19:34) made certain of His death, “and forthwith came there out blood and water,” evidencing complete collapse of the heart cavity.

Some have thought that Mary Magdalene, then Peter and John, then the other women, all went to the wrong tomb. Such a stupid mistake was not very likely, however, especially since there was no other tomb there! This was a garden, owned by Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:60; John 19:41), and no one else had been buried there.

Besides, if the body were still in any tomb whatever, it could have easily been produced by the Roman or Jewish authorities.

A few weeks later, when multitudes were accepting Christ because of the preaching of the resurrection, these same authorities did everything they could to stop the spread of the new Christian faith, and they utterly failed. If they had simply produced the body of Jesus, on the other hand, the entire movement would have collapsed overnight. But this was the one thing they could not do! That body, raised from the grave, had ascended up to heaven.

The Appearances of Christ

Not only was the tomb empty, but the disciples actually saw their resurrected Lord, on at least ten separate occasions after He left the tomb. These appearances were probably as follows:

(1) To Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18; Mark 16:9)

(2) To the other women (Matthew 28:8-10)

(3) To Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)

(4) To the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12)

(5) To ten of the disciples (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-24)

(6) To all eleven disciples, eight days later (John 20:24-29)

(7) To seven disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23)

(8) To five hundred followers (1 Corinthians 15:6)

(9) To James (1 Corinthians 15:7)

(10) To the eleven, at the ascension (Acts 1:3-12)

There were probably many other times He appeared to one or more of His disciples. Luke says: “He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days” (Acts 1:3). Finally, of course, He was seen by Paul (Acts 9:3-8; 1 Corinthians 15:8) and once again by John (Revelation 1:12-18).

Now, of course, skeptics have tried to avoid the testimony of these numerous post-resurrection appearances of Christ by pointing out various contradictions in the six accounts which list them (Matthew 28:8-20; Mark 16:9-20; Luke 24:13-51; John 20:11-21:14; Acts 1:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8), or else by charging the writers with fabricating the stories themselves. Of course, the mere fact that there does appear on the surface to be numerous superficial discrepancies and omissions in the account is clear proof that the writers were not engaged in some kind of collusion. If they were making up the tales, each one evidently was doing so independently of all others. This in itself would be quite a remarkable state of affairs, especially since these discrepancies begin to vanish when they are compared under close examination. It is a well-known rule of evidence that the testimonies of several different witnesses, each reporting from his own particular vantage point, provide the strongest possible evidence on matters of fact when the testimonies contain superficial contradictions which resolve themselves upon close and careful examination. This is exactly the situation with the various witnesses to the resurrection.

The only other possible device for explaining away the post-resurrection appearances is to assume that they were merely hallucinations, or visions, perhaps induced by drugs or hypnosis or hysteria. Such an absurd hypothesis is surely the last resort of cornered foes!

Such hallucinations, if this is what they were, are quite unique and should warrant careful psychologic scrutiny. These were experienced by a considerable number of different individuals, all seeing the same vision, but in different groups, at different times, both indoors and outdoors, on a hilltop, along a roadway, by a lakeshore and other places. Furthermore, they were not looking for Jesus at all. Several times they didnt recognize Him at first, and at least once actually believed it was a ghost until He convinced them otherwise. He invited them to touch Him and they recognized the wounds in His hands (John 20:27; Luke 24:39). They watched Him eat with them (Luke 24:41-43). On one occasion, over five hundred different people saw Him at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6), most of whom were still living at the time when the evidence was being used.

The vision theory is thus quite impossible and therefore the numerous appearances of Christ must be regarded as absolutely historical and genuine. This fact, combined with the evidence of the empty tomb, renders the resurrection as certain as any fact of history could possibly be.

 

 

The Death of Christ

The Strange Attraction of the Crucifixion

One of the most amazing influences of the life of Christ has been the strange fascination associated with His death. Untold numbers of crucifixes have been erected in churches and other places, and even greater numbers of ornamental crosses are worn as pieces of jewelry. The death of Christ has received far more attention in literature, art, and music, than have all the deaths of all other great men combined.

There was certainly nothing beautiful about His sufferings and death. He died as a common criminal, on a cross between two thieves. He had been beaten almost beyond recognition, and then the death by crucifixion itself was one of the cruelest of all possible ways to die.

But He had said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This He said, signifying what death He should die” (John 12:31-33). Also, He had said: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Somehow, in spite of the shame and cruelty and apparent futility associated with His death, millions of people down through the centuries have been attracted to His cross. His words have been fulfilled, in spite of their apparent unreasonableness. And all those who have looked upon His cross with true eyes of faith (in the way that the ancient Israelites, dying from the sting of the serpents in the wilderness, looked upon the brazen serpent erected by Moses on the great pole in the center of their camp) have received assurance of cleansing and everlasting life.

This is surely a remarkable phenomenon, if that is all it is. Nothing like it exists in all human experience. That the ugly death of a man on a cross two thousand years agoa man who, by all common standards, was uneducated, poor, and insignificantshould exert such a universal, age-long attraction for men of all nations and times and that faith in the meaning of His death should give joy and peace to multitudes, is something which simply can have no rational explanation at allexcept the one that He Himself gave. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

The Strange Attraction of the Crucifixion

One of the most amazing influences of the life of Christ has been the strange fascination associated with His death. Untold numbers of crucifixes have been erected in churches and other places, and even greater numbers of ornamental crosses are worn as pieces of jewelry. The death of Christ has received far more attention in literature, art, and music, than have all the deaths of all other great men combined.

There was certainly nothing beautiful about His sufferings and death. He died as a common criminal, on a cross between two thieves. He had been beaten almost beyond recognition, and then the death by crucifixion itself was one of the cruelest of all possible ways to die.

But He had said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This He said, signifying what death He should die” (John 12:31-33). Also, He had said: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Somehow, in spite of the shame and cruelty and apparent futility associated with His death, millions of people down through the centuries have been attracted to His cross. His words have been fulfilled, in spite of their apparent unreasonableness. And all those who have looked upon His cross with true eyes of faith (in the way that the ancient Israelites, dying from the sting of the serpents in the wilderness, looked upon the brazen serpent erected by Moses on the great pole in the center of their camp) have received assurance of cleansing and everlasting life.

This is surely a remarkable phenomenon, if that is all it is. Nothing like it exists in all human experience. That the ugly death of a man on a cross two thousand years agoa man who, by all common standards, was uneducated, poor, and insignificantshould exert such a universal, age-long attraction for men of all nations and times and that faith in the meaning of His death should give joy and peace to multitudes, is something which simply can have no rational explanation at allexcept the one that He Himself gave. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

The Prophecies of His Death

It is easy, of course, to prophesy that someone will die. Everyone must die sooner or later, and it surely takes no gift of prophetic insight to predict death. For that matter, many men and women, especially those who have a morbid interest in the occult, make death a very frequent subject of prophecy. Some of these (e.g., Jeanne Dixons famous prophecy of John Kennedys assassination) seem to come true, perhaps suggesting that demonic forces do have some limited knowledge of human plans and can occasionally forecast the events which they bring about, though of course most such soothsaying predictions are never fulfilled at all.

There is nothing in all human history, however, comparable to the prophecies associated with the death of Christ. These were not vague and hidden, like those of fortune-tellers, nor were they given only a short time before they were fulfilled, as are those of modern occultists. There are scores, perhaps hundreds, of such prophecies in the Old Testament that focus on the death of the coming Messiah, and many of them are very detailed and specific. All were recorded hundreds of years, some over a thousand years, before they were fulfilled.

The time when He would come into Jerusalem to die was prophesied in Daniel 9:24-26, and this was fulfilled exactly 483 years later, as predicted, when He entered Jerusalem for His last week before death, as recorded in Luke 19:37-44. After this, as Daniel (or, rather, the angel Gabriel) had prophesied, He was “cut off, but not for Himself.”

His betrayal by one of His close friends was forecast in Psalm 41:9, and even the price of thirty pieces of silver for His betrayal was given in Zechariah 11:12-13. The shameful mockery of the judicial process which constituted His trial is prophesied in Isaiah 50:6 and 53:7-8. The false witnesses are mentioned in Psalm 35:11.

The awful details of His sufferings on the cross are portrayed graphically in the 22nd Psalm, written by David almost 1,100 years before its fulfillment. The Psalm begins with the cry from the cross: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). The darkness is pictured in verse 2 (perhaps also in Amos 8:9). The mocking by the priests and others at the foot of the cross is described in verses 7 and 8. The terrible bodily sufferings induced by the crucifixion process are recorded in verses 14 and 15. The piercings of His hands and feet to receive the nails binding Him to the cross are mentioned in verse 16. The stripping of His garments and gambling over their possession by the soldiers crucifying Him is predicted in verses 17 and 18. His awful thirst is mentioned in verse 15 (and even the vinegar which was offered to Him, in Psalm 69:21). The collapse of His heart cavity, leading to the strange emergence of mingled blood and water from His side, is suggested in verse 14 (note John 19:34). There is no need for a detailed exposition of Psalm 22 here, but it is surely one of the most marvelous passages in all the Word of God, and will richly repay detailed and prayerful study by each individual Christian.

The fact that, despite the intensity of His sufferings, none of His bones would be broken, is foretold in Psalm 34:20, as fulfilled in John 19:36. The piercing of His side is suggested in Zechariah 12:10. The wounds in His hands may also have been noted by Zechariah, in 13:6.

The 53rd chapter of Isaiah (actually beginning at Isaiah 52:13) is also a marvelous chapter devoted to the future death of the Saviour, written by Isaiah 750 years before it came to pass. Especially emphasized in this chapter (which is quoted in at least six different places in the New Testament) is the fact that the death of the Messiah would be a substitutionary death, offered up in sacrificial substitution for the sins of others.

He is called by Isaiah, Gods “servant” (52:13) and His “righteous servant” (53:11). Yet it is also said that “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him,” and to “put Him to grief” (53:10). This apparent insult to the character of a holy and just God can only be resolved in light of the fact that this was God Himself, in the “form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6) who was making “His soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

This emphasis on substitutionary suffering is repeated over and over in this remarkable chapter. It says, for example, that “He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (verse 4), that “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and striped for our healing” (verse 5). Verse 6 says “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Verse 11 says “He shall bear their iniquities,” and verse 12 that “He was numbered with the transgressors, and bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

As a matter of fact, the Christian Gospelthat “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3)?finds its clearest expression in the whole Bible right here in this Old Testament chapter, recorded long before Christ came into the world to bring it to pass. Herein is surely a most marvelous evidence of the truth of Gods Word, and the sure fulfillment of all His promises!

Other details of His trial and death are also given in this chapter. The awful bruising He bore at the hands of the soldiers and others is graphically portrayed in 52:14: “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” His silence before His accusers at His trial is predicted in 53:7. The result of His mock trial is given in verse 8, and His death with the criminals, and His burial by a rich man, is recorded in verse 9.

And then, after His cruel death, His resurrection is prophesied in verse 10: “He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days.” Again, as with Psalm 22, we cannot give a detailed exposition of this chapter, but it is certainly one of the richest and most profound in the Bible, and has been a great source of unique blessing to multitudes through the ages.

There are many other prophecies in the Old Testament Scriptures which were fulfilled when Christ died on the cross. It must be clear to even the most skeptical that this is an absolutely unique phenomenon. There is nothing else comparable to this in all the realm of literature or of religion. The death of the Son of Man, on Calvarys cross, is an event of unique interest in heaven and of unique importance to man on earth.

The Surprising Circumstances of Christs Burial

The great defining passage on the Gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Here, the Gospel is defined as the good news that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Thus the Gospel involves three main partsthe death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christand further emphasizes his post-resurrection physical appearances in confirmation thereof.

It is obvious that the death and resurrection are basic to Christianity, but why should there be equal emphasis on the burial of Christ? Undoubtedly, the reason is that it is of vital importance for men to realize that Jesus Christ “is come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2). As His burial was an actual physical burial, with His body placed in a physical tomb, so His resurrection must therefore be a physical resurrection with His body coming out of the tomb. The deadly heresy of the gnostics, as of numerous other ancient and modern philosophies, was that the man Jesus and the great “Christ-spirit” were somehow united only in a very superficial way, so that when Jesus died the Christ returned to the Father. Thus, Christ did not really dieonly Jesus died. Further, Jesus did not really riseonly Christ arose!

Neither demons nor unbelieving men have been willing to acknowledge that “Jesus is the Christ,” that “Jesus is the Son of God,” and that “Jesus the Christ is come in the flesh” (1 John 5:1; 5:5; 4:3). The Son of God is also Son of Man, with both the divine power and the human nature enabling Him both to represent man and to set man free from the evil one.

It is absolutely vital for all men to know beyond any doubt that it was the human Jesus who rose from the grave. Therefore, it must be certain that His body was carefully buried after His death, and that this burial was known to all, both friend and foe. Then, on the great morning when He arose from the dead, the emptied tomb would stand forever as the infallible proof of His bodily resurrection.

Such an important ministry as the burial of the body of Jesus could not be entrusted by God to the Roman soldiers, who would merely further defile it and then throw it in with the bodies of other executed criminals, nor to the Jewish authorities who would probably do even worse. Nor would these authorities have permitted it to fall into the hands of His disciples, as they were afraid they would seek to hide it and then claim He had been resurrected (Matthew 27:62-66).

The solution was for God to have the body buried by one or more of the authorities themselves who were also disciples. For this purpose, God chose two of the members of the governing Jewish body, the Sanhedrin, Joseph and Nicodemus. Thus, they would have access to the necessary information about the time and circumstances of His death, they would also have access to the Roman governor in order to make the required arrangements to acquire the body before the soliders could dispose of it, and they would have enough wealth of their own to be able to make the needed preparations for a suitable resting-place for the body until it could be raised from the dead.

Of course, they would have to be prepared ahead of time for this ministry. God therefore somehow touched the heart of Nicodemus, as he listened to John the Baptist, then later to Jesus, and as He saw the miracles which Jesus did. Eventually, he made his way into the presence of Jesus one night, where the Lord spoke to him of the necessity of being born again, even though he was already the greatest “teacher in Israel” (John 3:7, 10).

The Scriptures do not tell us the outcome of that interview, except that sometime later Nicodemus defended Jesus on one occasion before the Sanhedrin (John 7:50-51). Similarly, we read that Joseph did not concur in the decision of the Sanhedrin to condemn Jesus (Luke 23:50-51).

Somehow these two men had become friends and had resolved to make preparations for Jesus burial. It seems likely that they may have had other interviews with Jesus, though the Scriptures are silent on this, and perhaps learned from His own lips about His approaching crucifixion. He had, indeed, told Nicodemus that He must be “lifted up,” as Moses had “lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” in order that men might have everlasting life. It hardly seems likely that Nicodemus, Israels great teacher, would not try to learn much more about these things, and where better than from Jesus Himself? If nothing else, however, he would surely have gone back to an intensive study of the Messianic Scriptures to learn all he could about the prophesied sacrificial death of the coming Messiah. These earnest studies most likely would have been shared with his friend Joseph.

Some such background as this is necessary to understand the otherwise inexplicable prescience of Joseph. Why, for example, should he, a rich man of Arimathea, buy a burial ground in Jerusalem instead of his own home town? And, especially, why should he purchase it in such a place as thisadjacent to the hill of Golgotha, where day after day there would come the cries of dying criminals and the wails of mourning families? Furthermore, it was a brand new tomb, not one in which others of the family had been buried (John 19:41), one that Joseph himself had hewn out in the rock (Matthew 27:60), perhaps not wishing others even to know about its preparation.

Strange also was the fact that Joseph knew exactly when Jesus died, and was immediately able to rush to Pilate with the request for His body, before others even realized He was dead (Mark 15:43-44). Even stranger was the fact that immediately thereafter came Nicodemus carrying one hundred Roman pounds  A Roman pound was equivalent to twelve ounces. of ointment for the burial (one does not carry even one hundred Roman pounds very far!). Then, while the women watched from a distance, no doubt in amazement, these two respected members of the Sanhedrin gently lowered the body from the cross, wound it in the linen clothes, applied the spices and ointments, laid the body in the tomb, and then departed. Never, so far as the Biblical record goes, were they ever heard from again, but there can be no doubt that this one act cost them their positions and probably their possessions, and possibly even their lives.

Probably in their studies together during the many months following Nicodemus first meeting with Jesus, the two friends spent much time in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. There especially was the sacrificial and saving work of the Messiah foretold, and this had been the great theme of Jesus words to Nicodemus (John 3:14-21).

And in the heart of that great passage is the statement: “And He made His grave with the wicked (thus near the execution and burial grounds of the condemned criminals), but (a better translation in this context than “and”) with the rich man (therefore, a rich man must somehow provide a grave for Him even in these unlikely circumstances) in His death” (Isaiah 53:9).

Joseph somehow decided himself to assume this prophetic obligation. He proceeded to purchase the land, cut out the tomb, plant a garden, purchase the required materials for the burial and hide them there, and then wait there with Nicodemus until they could perform that service for the Lord for which they had been born.

Selected Books for Further Study

  1. Breed, David K. The Trial of Christ. New York; Thomas Law Book Co., 1948.
  2. Denney, James. The Death of Christ. London; Inter-Varsity Press, 1951.
  3. Foster R.C. The Final Week. Grand Rapids; Baker Book House, 1962.
  4. Krummacher, F.W. The Suffering Saviour. Chicago; Moody Press, 1948.
  5. Linton, Irwin. The Sanhedrin Verdict. New York; Loizeaux Bros., 1943.
  6. Morgan, G. Campbell. The Crises of the Christ. New York; Fleming H. Revell, 1903.
  7. Morison, Frank. Who Moved the Stone? London; Faber and Faber, 1947.
  8. Nicholson, Wm. R. The Six Miracles of Calvary. Chicago; Moody Press, 1928.
  9. Schilder, K. Christ in His Suffering; Christ on Trial; Christ Crucified. Grand Rapids; Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1940.
  10. Stalker, James. The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ. London; Hodder & Stoughton, 1894.

 

When you assemble the data available about Joseph of Arimathea, you learn that he was rich (Matt. 27:57), a prominent member of the Jewish council (Mark 15:43), a good and righteous man who had not consented to what the council did (Luke 23:50–51), a member of that “believing minority” of Jews who were praying for Messiah to come (Mark 15:43, and note Luke 2:25–38), and a disciple of Jesus Christ (John 19:38). It was he who asked for the body of Jesus and, with his friend Nicodemus, gave the Saviour a decent burial.

But there are some mysteries about Joseph that perplex us and invite closer investigation. Why did he have a tomb so near to a place of execution? Most pious Jews wanted to be buried in the Holy City, but a rich man like Joseph could certainly afford a better site for his final resting place. Imagine his relatives coming to pay their respects and having to listen to the curses and cries of criminals on crosses not far away! (Note John 19:41.)

Matthew, Luke, and John all tell us that the tomb was new and had never been used. It was “his [Joseph’s] own new tomb” (Matt. 27:60); he had hewn it out for himself. Or did he hew it out for Jesus?

John informs us that Joseph was a “secret disciple for fear of the Jews.” The Greek word translated “secretly” is a perfect passive participle and could be translated “having been secreted.” In Matthew 13:35, this same verb form is translated “have been kept secret.” In other words, Joseph was God’s “secret agent” in the Sanhedrin! From the human standpoint, Joseph kept “under cover” because he feared the Jews (John 7:13; 9:22; 12:42); but from the divine standpoint, he was being protected so he could be available to bury the body of Jesus.

We have already met Nicodemus in our study of John 1–12. Note that each time he is named, he is identified as the man who came to Jesus by night (John 3:1ff; 7:50–53). But the man who started off with confusion at night (John 3) ended up with open confession in the daylight! Nicodemus came out of the dark and into the light and, with Joseph, was not ashamed to publicly identify with Jesus Christ. Of course, when the two men touched His dead body, they defiled themselves and could not participate in Passover. But, what difference did it make? They had found the Lamb of God!

It seems evident that Joseph and Nicodemus carefully planned their activities at Calvary. They certainly could not secure a tomb at the last minute, nor would they be able to purchase sixty-five pounds of costly spices so quickly during the Passover when many merchants would not be doing business. No sooner had Jesus died than Joseph went to Pilate and received permission to take the body. Nicodemus stayed at the cross to make sure nothing happened to his Lord’s body. The two men might even have been waiting in the new tomb, with the spices and wrappings, ready for the moment when the Saviour would lay down His life.

Haste was important and the men worked quickly. They could not give Jesus’ body the full ministry of washing and anointing that was traditional, but they did the best they could. It was important to get the body safely away from the Romans and the Jewish leaders. Of course, Mary of Bethany had already anointed His body for burial (Mark 14:8; John 12:1–8). Some of the other women watched the two men minister to Jesus, and they witnessed His burial (Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47). They planned to return after the Sabbath and complete the burial procedures (Luke 23:55–24:1).

All of this raises the question, “How did Joseph and Nicodemus know to prepare for His burial?” What follows is only conjecture on my part but, to me, it seems reasonable.

When Nicodemus first visited Jesus, he was impressed with His miracles and His teachings; but he could not understand what it meant to be born again. Certainly after that interview, Nicodemus searched the Scriptures and asked God for guidance concerning these important spiritual matters.

At the critical council meeting recorded in John 7:45–53, Nicodemus boldly stood up and defended the Saviour! His associates ridiculed him for thinking that a prophet could come out of Galilee! “Search, and look!” they said—and that is exactly what Nicodemus did. It is likely that Joseph quietly joined him and revealed the fact that he too was more and more convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed Israel’s Messiah, the Son of God.

As Nicodemus and Joseph searched the Old Testament, they would find the messianic prophecies and discover that many of them had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Certainly they would see Him as the “Lamb of God” and conclude that He would be sacrificed at Passover. Jesus had already told Nicodemus that He would be “lifted up” (John 3:14), and this meant crucifixion. Since the Passover lambs were slain about 3 p.m., the two men could know almost the exact time when God’s Lamb would die on the cross! Surely they would read Isaiah 53 and notice verse 9—“And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death.” Jesus would be buried in a rich man’s tomb!

Joseph arranged to have the tomb hewn out, and the men assembled the cloths and spices needed for the burial. They may have been hiding in the tomb all during the six hours of our Lord’s agony on the cross. When they heard, “It is finished! Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit!” they knew that He was dead; and they went to work. They boldly identified with Jesus Christ at a time when He seemed like a failure and His cause hopelessly defeated. As far as we know, of all the disciples, only John was with them at the cross.

The Sabbath was about to dawn. Jesus had finished the work of the “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), and now He would rest.[1]

 

His Guarded Tomb (Matt. 27:57–66)

Were it not for the intervention of Jospeh of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:38), the body of Jesus might not have had a decent burial. Joseph and Nicodemus had come to believe in Jesus, even though they had not openly testified of their faith. God kept them hidden, as it were, that they might care for the body of Jesus. Since Joseph was a rich man, and he prepared the new tomb, he helped in the fulfillment of prophecy, Isaiah 53:9—“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death” (niv).

It is not likely that Joseph prepared that tomb for himself. He was a wealthy man and certainly would not want to be buried so near a place of execution. He prepared that tomb for Jesus, and he selected a site near Golgotha so that he and Nicodemus could bury Christ’s body quickly. Joseph and Nicodemus could very well have been in the garden waiting for Jesus to die. When they took Him from the cross, they defiled themselves and were not able to eat the Passover. But, what difference did it make? They had found the Lamb of God!

In contrast to the loving care given by Jesus’ friends, notice the plottings and maneuvering of the Jewish leaders. The disciples had forgotten that Jesus promised to rise from the dead on the third day, but His enemies remembered. Pilate permitted the leaders to set a guard at the tomb. This guard put an official Roman seal on the stone. All of this was of God, for now it was impossible for anyone—friend or foe—to steal the body. Without realizing it, the Jewish leaders and the Roman government joined forces to help prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

[2]

The Servant’s Burial (Mark 15:42–47)

The Jews recognized two evenings: “early evening,” from 3 to 6 o’clock, and “evening,” after 6 o’clock, when the new day would begin. This explains how both Matthew (27:57) and Mark could call late Friday afternoon “evening.” It was important that the place of execution be quickly cleared, because the Jewish Sabbath was about to begin, and that Sabbath was a “high day” because of the Passover (John 19:31).

God had a wealthy member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea, ready to take care of the body of Jesus (Matt. 27:57). He was assisted by Nicodemus, also a member of the council (John 19:38–42). We must not think that these two men suddenly decided to bury Jesus, because what they did demanded much preparation.

To begin with, Joseph had to prepare the tomb in a garden near the place where Jesus died. This tomb was probably not for Joseph himself, since a wealthy man would not likely choose to be buried near a place of execution. The men also had to obtain a large quantity of spices (John 19:39), and this could not be done when the shops were closed for Passover. And all of this had to be done without the council’s knowledge.

It seems evident that God prepared these two men and directed them in their activities. Nicodemus had come to Jesus privately (John 3) and had even defended Him before the council (John 7:45–53). I believe that Joseph and Nicodemus searched the Scriptures together and discovered, led by the Spirit, that the Lamb would die at Passover. It is possible that they were hiding in the new tomb when Jesus died. It was a simple matter for Joseph to go to Pilate for permission to take the body, and for Nicodemus to guard the body until the official release was given. Had these men not acted boldly, the body of Jesus might have been disposed of like rubbish.

It was important that His body be prepared for burial so that the empty graveclothes could be left behind in the tomb (John 20:1–10). Also, the way He was buried fulfilled prophecy (Isa. 53:9). The fact that He was buried is proof that Jesus actually died on the cross, for the Roman officials would not have released the body without proof that Jesus was dead.

[3]

THE SON OF MAN TRIUMPHS!

Luke 24

Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion,” says Dr. John Stott. “The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ affirms to us that He is indeed the Son of God, just as He claimed to be (Rom. 1:4). It also proves that His sacrifice for sin has been accepted and that the work of salvation is completed (Rom. 4:24–25). Those who trust Him can “walk in newness of life” because He is alive and imparts His power to them (Rom. 6:4; Gal. 2:20). Our Lord’s resurrection also declares to us that He is the Judge who will come one day and judge the world (Acts 17:30–31).

It is no surprise, then, that Satan has attacked the truth of the Resurrection. The first lie that he spawned was that the disciples came and stole Christ’s body (Matt. 28:11–15), but it is difficult to imagine how they could have done this. To begin with, the tomb was carefully guarded (Matt. 27:61–66); and it would have been next to impossible for the frightened Apostles to overpower the soldiers, open the tomb, and secure the body. But the biggest obstacle is the fact that the Apostles themselves did not believe that He would be resurrected! Why, then, would they steal His body and try to perpetrate a hoax?

A second lie is that Jesus did not really die on the cross but only swooned, and when He was put into the cool tomb, He revived. But Pilate carefully checked with the centurion to see whether Jesus was dead (Mark 15:44), and the Roman soldiers who broke the legs of the two thieves knew that Jesus had died (John 19:31–34). Furthermore, how could a “cool tomb” transform Christ’s body so that He could appear and disappear and walk through closed doors?

The message of the Gospel rests on the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1–8). The Apostles were sent out as witnesses of His resurrection (Acts 1:22), and the emphasis in the Book of Acts is on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This explains why Luke climaxed his book with a report of some of the appearances of Jesus after He had been raised from the dead. He first appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11–18), then to the “other women” (Matt. 28:9–10), and then to the two men on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–22). At some time, He also appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34) and to His half brother James (1 Cor. 15:7).

That evening, He appeared to the Apostles (Luke 24:36–43), but Thomas was not with them (John 20:19–25). A week later, He appeared to the Apostles again, especially for the sake of Thomas (John 20:26–31). He appeared to seven of the Apostles when they were fishing at the Sea of Galilee (John 21). He appeared several times to the Apostles before His ascension, teaching them and preparing them for their ministry (Acts 1:1–12).

When the believers discovered that Jesus was alive, it made a tremendous difference in their lives.

[4]

 

jesus’ burial in a nearby tomb (15:42-47) (matt. 27:57-61; luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).

15:42-43. Jesus’ burial officially confirmed His death, an important point in early Christian preaching (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4). The designation Preparation Day is used here as a technical name for Friday, the day before the Sabbath (Saturday) as Mark explained to his non-Jewish readers. Since no work was allowed on the Jewish Sabbath, Friday was used to prepare for it. This reference confirms that Jesus was crucified on Friday, Nisan 15 (cf. comments on Mark 14:1a, 12, 16). “Evening” referred to the hours between mid-afternoon (3 p.m.) and sunset, when Friday ended and the Sabbath began.

Under Roman law the release of a crucified man’s corpse for burial was determined only by the imperial magistrate. Usually such a request by a victim’s relatives was granted, but sometimes a body would be left on a cross to decay or be eaten by predatory animals or birds and the remains were thrown into a common grave. Jewish law required a proper burial for all bodies, even those of executed criminals (cf. Mishnah Sanhedrin 6. 5). It also dictated that those hanged were to be taken down and buried before sunset (cf. Deut. 21:23).

Aware of these regulations, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and requested Jesus’ body for burial. He did this as evening approached (lit., “when evening had already arrived,” i.e., probably about 4 p.m.). This gave urgency to his intended action.

Though Joseph probably lived in Jerusalem he was originally from Arimathea, a village 20 miles northwest of the city. He was a wealthy (Matt. 27:57), reputable member of the Council (bouleutēs), a non-Jewish designation for the Sanhedrin. He had not approved of the Sanhedrin’s decision to kill Jesus (Luke 23:51). He was personally waiting for the kingdom of God (cf. Mark 1:15) which suggests he was a devout Pharisee. He regarded Jesus as the Messiah though so far he was a secret disciple (John 19:38).

But he took courage and went to Pilate boldly, a description unique to Mark. His action was bold because: (a) he was not related to Jesus; (b) his request was a favor that would likely be denied on principle since Jesus had been executed for treason; (c) he risked ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body; (d) his request amounted to an open confession of personal loyalty to the crucified Jesus which would doubtless incur his associates’ hostility. He was a secret disciple no longer—something Mark impressed on his readers.

15:44-45. Pilate was amazed (ethaumasen, “astonished”; cf. 5:20) that Jesus had already died (cf. comments on 15:37). He summoned the centurion in charge of the Crucifixion (v. 39) to find out from a trusted source if the report were true. Once he was assured that Jesus was dead, Pilate gave (lit., “gave as a gift,” i.e., without requiring a fee) the body (to ptōma, “the corpse”) to Joseph. Pilate’s favorable response to Joseph’s request was exceptional; perhaps it arose from his belief that Jesus was innocent (cf. vv. 14-15). Only Mark recorded Pilate’s questioning of the centurion, thereby highlighting to his Roman readers that Jesus’ death was confirmed by a Roman military officer.

15:46-47. Joseph undoubtedly had servants help him to accomplish a proper burial before sunset, a time span of about two hours. Nicodemus, a fellow Sanhedrin member, joined in, presumably by prearrangement (John 19:39-40).

After Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, it was probably washed (cf. Acts 9:37) before it was wrapped tightly in strips of linen cloth with aromatic spices placed between the wraps. All this was in accord with Jewish burial customs (John 19:39-40).

Then the body was carried to a nearby garden and placed on a stone shelf inside Joseph’s own previously unused tomb (Matt. 27:60; John 19:41-42) hewn out of rock. The tomb was sealed shut with a circular flat stone that rolled down a sloping groove till it was securely in front of the entrance to keep out intruders. To roll that stone back up again would require the strength of several men.

Two women who had witnessed Jesus’ death (cf. Mark 15:40) saw (lit., “were observing,” imperf. tense) with interest where He was buried. Apparently the other women had returned home to prepare for the Sabbath, a day on which they rested (Luke 23:56).

[5]

53:9. The soldiers who crucified Jesus apparently intended to bury Him with the wicked like the two criminals (John 19:31). However, He was buried with the rich, in the grave of a rich man named Joseph (Matt. 27:57-60).

(4) The Lord’s promise about the blessing of the Servant (53:10-12).

53:10. The suffering and death of the Servant was clearly the Lord’s will. In that sense He was ”slain from the Creation of the world“ (Rev. 13:8). The statement, the Lord made the Servant’s life a guilt offering, does not mean that Jesus’ life satisfied the wrath of God but that His life which culminated in His death was the sacrifice for sins. As indicated in Isaiah 53:7-8 He had to die to satisfy the righteous demands of God. The word for ”guilt offering“ is ’āšām, used in Leviticus 5:15; 6:5; 19:21 and elsewhere of an offering to atone for sin.

His death and burial appeared to end His existence (He was ”cut off, “ Isa. 53:8), but in actuality because of His resurrection Jesus will see His offspring (those who by believing in Him become children of God, John 1:12) and He will prolong His days (live on forever as the Son of God). He will be blessed (prosper; cf. Isa. 53:12a) because of His obedience to the will (plan) of the Lord.

53:11. His suffering, which included His death, led to life (His resurrection). Satisfied that His substitutionary work was completed (”It is finished, “ John 19:30), He now can justify (declare righteous those who believe; see comments on Rom. 1:17; 3:24) many (cf. Isa. 53:12). By His knowledge could be translated ”by knowledge of Him“ as in the NIV margin. He bore the punishment (cf. vv. 4, 6), for their iniquities (cf. v. 6), so that many people would not have to die. Because He died, they live.

53:12. Having willingly followed God’s plan, the Servant is exalted (cf. 52:13). To have a portion and divide the spoils pictures a general, after winning a battle, sharing goods taken from the enemy (cf. Ps. 68:18; Eph. 4:7-8). Because He was numbered with the transgressors, that is, was considered a sinner (cf. Matt. 27:38) and bore the sin (cf. Isa. 53:6) of many, that is, everyone, He is exalted and allows believers to share in the benefits of that exaltation. And because He is alive (cf. v. 10), He now intercedes (prays; cf. Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25) for . . . transgressors (related to the word peša‘, ”transgression[s], “ in Isa. 53:5, 8).

This great passage gives a tremendously complete picture of what the death of Jesus Christ accomplished on behalf of Israel (John 11:49-51) and the whole world (1 John 2:2). His death satisfied God’s righteous demands for judgment against sin, thus opening the way for everyone to come to God in faith for salvation from sin.

[6]

27:57-61 (Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42). No known preparation had been made for Jesus’ burial; normally the body of a crucified criminal would simply have been discarded without ceremony. However, a rich man from Arimathea (a town east of Joppa), named Joseph, asked Pilate . . . for Jesus’ body. Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, had not agreed with the council’s decision to crucify Jesus (Luke 23:51). Instead he was one who had been looking for the kingdom of God and was a believer in Jesus. Pilate granted his request, surprised that Jesus was already dead (Mark 15:44-45). Another account reported Joseph was assisted in the burial by Nicodemus (John 19:39; cf. John 3:1-21). These two men took the body of Jesus and following burial customs of the time, wrapped the body in linen with a mixture of myrrh and aloes, spices used in burial (John 19:40; cf. Matt. 2:11). This procedure was done rapidly in order to be completed before the Sabbath began at nightfall. Joseph placed the wrapped body in his own new tomb . . . cut out of the rock near the place of crucifixion. Why Joseph of Arimathea would own a tomb in Jerusalem cannot be determined. Possibly Jesus had made arrangements ahead of time with him and he had purchased the tomb especially for this occasion. Joseph and Nicodemus rolled a big stone across the tomb’s entrance.

Matthew noted that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat across from the tomb (27:61), no doubt in mourning. Interestingly these women accompanied Jesus’ body right up to the minute it was buried, whereas Jesus’ disciples had all abandoned Him (26:56).

27:62-66. It is a little surprising that a group of unbelievers would remember Jesus’ prediction that He would rise again on the third day, while the believing disciples seemingly forgot. The very next day after His death, that is, on the Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate and informed him of Jesus’ words. While they did not believe in Jesus (whom they blasphemously called that deceiver), they feared His disciples might come . . . steal the body, and attempt to fabricate a resurrection lie. If this were to happen, the deception would be worse than anything Jesus had accomplished in His life. The Resurrection was the one thing these leaders feared, so they suggested the tomb . . . be made secure until the third day.

Pilate agreed with their suggestion and ordered that a guard be sent to the tomb to make it as secure as possible. The Roman guard not only sealed the tomb (presumably with the official Roman seal and with a cord and wax, which if tampered with, could be detected) but also continued to keep a guard at the scene. Their presence made stealing the body impossible.

[7]

19:38-39. Joseph of Arimathea was rich (Matt. 27:57) and was waiting for the kingdom (Mark 15:43). (Arimathea was about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem.) Though a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council, he was “a good and upright man who had not consented to their decision” (Luke 23:50-51). After a crucifixion the Romans usually left the dead body to the beasts of prey. This lack of proper burial was the final humiliation in a crucifixion. But Jews removed exposed bodies (cf. comments on John 19:31-32).

Joseph got permission to bury Jesus’ body. He along with another influential man (Nicodemus; cf. 3:1; 7:51) made the necessary arrangements. About 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes was an extensive amount of spices, used in preparing the body for burial. Perhaps Nicodemus now understood the teaching of Jesus that He would be lifted up and that a man could look in faith to Him and live (cf. 3:14). Both men who had been secret disciples now became manifest.

19:40-42. Because it was almost the Sabbath (which began at sundown) the burial had to take place quickly. Jewish burial customs did not involve mummification or embalming, which took out the blood and body organs. Their normal process was to wash a body and cover it with cloth and aromatic oils or spices. The NIV translation of othoniois as strips of linen has some support (cf. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, p. 558). However, some Roman Catholic scholars argue for the translation “cloth wrappings” since Matthew refers to a linen cloth in which Jesus’ body was wrapped (Matt. 27:59, sindōn).

Recent discussion on the Shroud of Turin has raised considerable controversy. The translation “strips of linen” would argue against the authenticity of the shroud. But at this time, because of the uncertainties of Jewish burial practices, the meaning of othoniois, and the Shroud of Turin, dogmatism should be avoided. Jesus’ body was placed in a new tomb in a private garden, not in a cemetery. Matthew wrote that this was Joseph’s “own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock” (Matt. 27:60). Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah, the suffering Servant, though despised and rejected by men, would be with the rich in His death (Isa. 53:9).

The burial of Jesus is part of the gospel (“He was buried,” 1 Cor. 15:4). Its significance lies in the fact that it was the completion of Jesus’ suffering and humiliation. It also pointed up the reality of His death and set the stage for His coming bodily resurrection. Also, in Jesus’ burial He identified with believers who will die and be buried.

Joseph and Nicodemus’ act of love and respect for the body of Jesus was for them dangerous, costly, and without any personal gain. The service of Christians for their living Lord should be equally courageous and sacrificial, for their labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).

[8]

Verse 57. When the even] This must have been about three o’clock, or a little after; for our Lord having expired about three o’clock, Mt 27:46, and the Jewish passover beginning about four, it was necessary that Joseph, who would not fail to eat the passover at the usual time, should have obtained and buried the body of Christ some time before four o’clock. But such was the general consternation, occasioned by the prodigies that took place on this most awful occasion, that we may safely conjecture that nothing was done in order, and perhaps the passover itself was not eaten at the usual hour, if at all, that day. See at the end of the preceding chapter.

A rich man] He was a counsellor of the great Sanhedrin, Lu 23:50; and, from the accounts given of him by the evangelists we learn that he was a man of the greatest respectability. He now acted a more honourable part than all the disciples of our Lord. He was of Arimathea, or Rama, in the tribe of Benjamin, Mt 2:18, but lived ordinarily in Jerusalem, as being a member of the great council.

Verse 58. Begged the body] That he might bury it honourably otherwise, by the Jewish customs, he would have either been burned, or buried in the common place appointed for executed criminals.

Verse 59. Wrapped it in a clean linen cloth] The Jews, as well as the Egyptians, added spices to keep the body from putrefaction, and the linen was wrapped about every part to keep the aromatics in contact with the flesh. From Joh 19:39, 40, we learn that a mixture of myrrh and aloes of one hundred pounds’ weight had been applied to the body of Jesus when he was buried. And that a second embalmment was intended, we learn from Lu 23:56; 24:1, as the hurry to get the body interred before the Sabbath did not permit them to complete, the embalming in the first instance. See an account of the mode of embalming among the Egyptians, in the note on Ge 50:2, 26.

Verse 60. Laid it in his own new tomb] To all human appearance the body of Christ must have had the same burial-place with those of the two robbers, as he was numbered with the transgressors, and suffered with them; for then he was a sacrifice, bearing the sin of the world in his own body on the tree; but now the sacrifice is offered, the atonement made and accepted, he is no longer to be enrolled with the transgressors, and, according to a prophecy delivered nearly seven hundred years before that time, he is to have the burying-place of a rich man. See Isa 53:9, 10. Had our Lord been buried in the common burial-ground of the malefactors, his resurrection could not have been so distinctly remarked, as the chief priests would never have thought of sealing the stone there, or setting a watch; but now that the body is got into the hands of a friend, they judge it necessary to make use of these precautions, in order, as they said, to prevent imposture; and from this very circumstance the resurrection of Christ had its fullest evidence, and was put beyond the power of successful contradiction. What a number of objections would not human prudence have made to Joseph’s conduct, had he consulted it on this occasion! It would have represented to him that, “this was to expose himself, to bring himself into trouble, to render himself suspected, to put himself out of all capacity of doing good, to ruin himself irrecoverably; and now it could do no good to his teacher-he is now dead, and needs no longer any office of kindness from men.” There is, sometimes in our whole life, but one opportunity in which God designs signally to employ us; and, through our general backwardness to every good work, we are for reserving ourselves to other opportunities, in which God neither requires nor will accept our services.

Rolled a great stone to the door] Some are of opinion that this tomb was cut down into the rock, perpendicularly from the surface; and that the great stone spoken of here covered over the entrance to it. The stone, no doubt, was intended to secure the place as much as possible.

[9]

THE GIFT OF A TOMB

Matthew 27:57–61

Late in the day there came a rich man from Arimathaea, Joseph by name, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in clean linen, and laid it in a new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock. And he rolled a great stone across the door of the tomb and went away. And Mary from Magdala was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

According to Jewish law, even a criminal’s body might not be left hanging all night, but had to be buried that day. “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall bury him the same day” (Deuteronomy 21:22, 23). This was doubly binding when, as in the case of Jesus, the next day was the Sabbath. According to Roman law, the relatives of a criminal might claim his body for burial, but if it was not claimed it was simply left to rot until the scavenger dogs dealth with it.

Now none of Jesus’s relatives were in a position to claim his body, for they were all Galilaeans and none of them possessed a tomb in Jerusalem. So the wealthy Joseph from Arimathaea stepped in. He went to Pilate and asked that the body of Jesus should be given to him; and he cared for it, and put it into the rock tomb where no man had ever been laid. Joseph must be forever famous as the man who gave Jesus a tomb.

Legends have gathered around the name of Joseph and legends which are of particular interest to those who live in England. The best known is that in A.D. 61 Philip sent Joseph from Gaul to preach the gospel in England. He came bearing with him the chalice which was used at the Last Supper, and which now held the blood of Jesus shed upon the Cross. That chalice was to become the Holy Grail which is so famous in the stories of the Knights of King Arthur. When Joseph and his band of missionaries had climbed Weary—all Hill and come to the other side, they came to Glastonbury; there Joseph struck his staff into the earth and from it grew the Glastonbury Thorn. It is certainly true that for years Glastonbury was the holiest place in England; and it is still a place of pilgrimage. The story is that the original thorn was hacked down by a Puritan, but that the thorn which grows there to this day came from a shoot of it; and to this day slips of it are sent all over the world. So, then, legend connects Joseph of Arimathaea with Glastonbury and England.

But there is a lesser-known legend, commemorated in one of the most famous hymns and poems in the English language. It is a legend which is still current in Somerset. Joseph, so the legend runs, was a tin merchant, and came, long before he was sent by Philip, on quite frequent visits to the tin mines of Cornwall. The town of Marazion in Cornwall has another name. It is sometimes called Market Jew, and is said to have been the centre of a colony of Jews who traded in tin. The legend goes still further. Joseph of Arimathaea, it says, was the uncle of Mary, the mother of Jesus. (Can it possibly be that he did actually exercise a relative’s right to claim the body of Jesus under Roman law?) And, it is said, he brought the young boy Jesus with him on one of his voyages to Cornwall.. That is what William Blake was thinking of when he wrote his famous poem:

“And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England’s mountains green?

And was the Holy Lamb of God

In England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine

Shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here,

Among those dark Satanic mills?”

The dark Satanic mills were the tin mines of Cornwall. It is a lovely legend which we would like to be true, for there would be a thrill in the thought that the feet of the boy Jesus once touched English earth.

It is often said that Joseph gave to Jesus a tomb after he was dead, but did not support him during his life. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:50); and Luke tells us that “he had not consented to the (council’s) purpose and deed” (Luke 23:51). It is possible that the meeting of the Sanhedrin called in the house of Caiaphas in the middle of the night was selectively called? It hardly seems likely that the whole Sanhedrin could have been there. It may well be that Caiaphas summoned those whom he wished to be present and packed the meeting with his supporters, and that Joseph never even got a chance to be there.

It is certainly true that in the end Joseph displayed the greatest courage. He came out on the side of a crucified criminal; he braved the possible resentment of Pilate; and he faced the certain hatred of the Jews. It may well be that Joseph of Arimathea did everything that it was possible for him to do.

One obscure point remains. The woman who is called the other Mary is identified as Mary, the mother of Joses by Mark 15:47. We have already seen that these women were present at the Cross; their love made them follow Jesus in life and in death.

AN IMPOSSIBLE ASSIGNMENT

Matthew 27:62–66

On the next day, which is the day after the Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate in a body. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that, while he was still alive, that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Give orders therefore that the tomb should be kept secure until the three days are ended, in case his disciples come and steal him, and say to the people, ‘He has been raised from among the dead.’ If that happens, the final deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said, “You have a guard. Go, and make it as secure as you can.” They went and secured the tomb by setting a seal upon it as well as by placing a guard.

This passage begins in the most curious way. It says that the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate on the next day, which is the day after the Preparation. Now Jesus was crucified on the Friday. Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath. The hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday were called The Eve, or The Preparation. We have seen that, according to Jewish reckoning, the new day began at 6 p.m. Therefore, the Sabbath began at 6 p.m. on Friday; and the last hours of Friday were The Preparation. If this is accurate, it can only mean one thing—it must mean that the chief priests and Pharisees actually approached Pilate on the Sabbath with their request. If they did that, it is clear to see how radically they broke the Sabbath Law. If this is accurate, no other incident in the gospel story more plainly shows how desperately eager the Jewish authorities were totally to eliminate Jesus. In order to make certain that he was finally out of the way they were willing to break even their own most sacred laws.

There is a grim irony here. These Jews came to Pilate saying that Jesus had said that he would rise after three days. They did not admit that they envisaged the possibility that that might be true, but they thought the disciples might seek to steal away the body and say that a resurrection had happened. They, therefore, wished to take special steps to guard the tomb. Back comes Pilate’s answer: “Make it as safe as you can.” It is as if Pilate all unconciously said, “Keep Christ in the tomb—if you can.” They took their steps. The door of these rock tombs was closed by a great round stone like a cartwheel, which ran in a groove. They sealed it and they set a special guard—and they made it as safe as they could.

They had not realized one thing—that there was not a tomb in the world which could imprison the Risen Christ. Not all men’s plans could bind the Risen Lord. The man who seeks to put bonds on Jesus Christ is on a hopeless assignment.

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bore this mark in his side (20:19ff.).

JESUS AND THE EXODUS EXPERIENCE

John shows the parallels between events in Exodus and the life of Jesus. God filled the wilderness experience of his people with illustrations of his eternal plan to save the world. The rescue of a people from captivity itself became a prophetic clue that God would offer a way of escape to the world through Jesus Christ. John indicated:

•     As God temporarily took up residence in a tent among the people, Jesus is the living tabernacle of God. (John 1)

•     As Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness, Jesus is the perfect bronze serpent. (John 3)

•     As God provided bread from heaven to feed the people, Jesus is the real manna. (John 6)

•     As God provided water from the rock, Jesus is both source and substance of living water from the rock. (John 7)

•     As God’s presence was seen in the column of fire in the wilderness, Jesus is the Light of the World. (John 8)

•     As God instituted the memorial of the sacrificed lamb and the blood of Passover, Jesus is the perfect Passover Lamb. (John 1:29; 18:28; 19:14, 36)

JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB / 19:38–42 / 237

Two secret disciples of Jesus came forward to take care of Jesus’ burial. They both had feared persecution from the Jewish religious leaders, so they had not openly declared their faith in Jesus as the Messiah (see 12:42).

Secrecy and true belief are only temporary allies. Those who try to be permanent, secret disciples have no way of knowing if their faith is real. God will create moments along the way when even those who are secret disciples will have to declare themselves or be forced to admit that they are not disciples after all. In the case of Joseph and Nicodemus, late was certainly better than never!

19:38–42     The first man: Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. NIV Joseph was from Arimathea, a town not exactly pinpointed today but generally considered to have been about twenty miles northwest of Jerusalem. Matthew’s Gospel says Joseph was “a rich man” (Matthew 27:57 niv); Mark describes him as “a prominent member of the council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God” (Mark 15:43 niv); and Luke adds further that he was “a good and upright man, who had not consented to [the council’s] decision and action” (Luke 23:50–51 niv).

Joseph would not have been able to stop the council’s planned murder of Jesus, but he did what he could afterwards by boldly going to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body so he could give it a proper burial. He had to ask for permission because the Romans usually left the bodies exposed without burial, both as a lesson to anyone passing by, and as a final humiliation for those executed. So Joseph went to ask Pilate, and Pilate agreed to let him take and bury the body.

The second man: Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came. NRSV Jesus had talked at length with Nicodemus about being born again (3:1ff.), and Nicodemus had stood up for Jesus among the chief priests and Pharisees (7:50–52). Nicodemus joined Joseph in embalming and wrapping Jesus’ body in regal style. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. NIV This was an extraordinarily large amount of embalming spices and must have been extremely expensive.

We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.

William Gurnall

STANDING UP

Joseph and Nicodemus were secret believers, but after seeing the horrible treatment of Jesus, they decided that it had gone far enough and they were going to stand up, show their loyalty, and take care of Jesus’ body for burial. Today, many treat the Bible and Jesus with similar horrible treatment. Now is the time for believers to step forward. Now is the time to come forward and testify to what God has done for you. Now is the time to join “that courageous and faithful band who are not afraid to stand up and be counted!”

Perhaps the action of Joseph and Nicodemus points to a lesson in teamwork. Both men were naturally cautious. Perhaps they had been chastised repeatedly for not openly rejecting Jesus. But when the moment for boldness came, they worked together. When we join with other believers we can often accomplish what we would not dare to try alone. Though Joseph and Nicodemus were probably each very much afraid, they nevertheless acted courageously. Obedience will often require us to act in spite of our fears.

Taking Jesus’ body, the two of t

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The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central fact of Christian history. On it, the church is built; without it, there would be no Christian church today. Jesus’ resurrection is unique. Other religions have strong ethical systems, concepts about paradise and afterlife, and various holy scriptures. Only Christianity has a God who became human, literally died for his people, and was raised again in power and glory to rule his church forever.

Why is the Resurrection so important?

  • Because Christ was raised from the dead, we know that the kingdom of heaven has broken into earth’s history. Our world is now headed for redemption, not disaster. God’s mighty power is at work destroying sin, creating new lives, and preparing us for Jesus’ second coming.
  • Because of the Resurrection, we know that death has been conquered and that we, too, will be raised from the dead to live forever with Christ.
  • The Resurrection gives authority to the church’s witness in the world. Look at the early evangelistic sermons in the book of Acts: The apostles’ most important message was the proclamation that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead!
  • The Resurrection gives meaning to the church’s regular feast, the Lord’s Supper. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we break bread with our risen Lord.
  • The Resurrection helps us find meaning even in great tragedy. No matter what happens to us as we walk with the Lord, the Resurrection gives us hope for the future.
  • The Resurrection assures us that Christ is alive and ruling his kingdom. He is not legend; he is alive and real.
  • God’s power that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to us so that we can live for him in an evil world.
  • The power of God that brought Christ’s body back from the dead is available to us to bring our morally and spiritually dead selves back to life so that we can change and grow (1 Corinthians 15:12–19).

[12]

BURIAL
Certification of death and procurement of the body 27:57–58 15:42–45 23:50–52 19:31–38
Jesus’ body placed in a tomb 27:59–60 15:46 23:53–54 19:39–42
Tomb watched by the women and guarded by the soldiers 27:61–66 15:47 23:55–56

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But at the exact moment necessary, God moved in the heart of a godly man. Therefore, when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. As explained above, the evening hours were from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., at which time the next day, in this case the Sabbath, was considered to begin. Had Joseph asked for the body any earlier, Jesus would not have been dead, and had he come any later, he could not have prepared the body for burial before the Sabbath began.

Joseph not only was a rich man, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa. 53:9), but was “a prominent member of the Council,” the Sanhedrin, and “was waiting for the kingdom of God” (Mark 15:43). Contrary to the other members, however, he was “a good and righteous man” who “had not consented to their plan and action” to condemn and execute Jesus (Luke 23:50–51).

The only thing known with certainty about Arimathea is that it was “a city of the Jews” (Luke 23:51), that is, in Judea. Although Galilee was in the heartland of ancient Israel, it had become populated with many Gentiles and often was associated with the region to the east frequently referred to as Galilee of the Gentiles (see Matt. 4:15; cf. Isa. 9:1). Judea, however, was by far the most distinctly Jewish area of Palestine and was considered the land of the Jews. Because Joseph presumably would have had his burial site close to where he lived, it is generally assumed that Arimathea was near Jerusalem. Marry scholars believe Arimathea was a form of the ancient Ramah, the city a few miles north of Jerusalem from which Samuel came.

At some point during the past three years, Joseph had become a disciple of Jesus, although “a secret one, for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38). The Greek text uses the verb form of disciple and could be translated, “was discipled to (or by) Jesus.” Joseph was a follower of and learner from Jesus, suggesting that he must have heard our Lord preach and teach and that he probably witnessed many of His miracles.

Because, as already noted, he was a secret disciple, Joseph had followed and learned from Jesus at a distance. It is possible he had first heard Jesus in the company of other Sanhedrin members as they came to criticize and condemn Him and, while listening to Him preach, was convinced of Jesus’ messiahship. But to have made his allegiance to Christ public not only would have cost him his place in the Sanhedrin but would have jeopardized his economic, social, and family welfare as well.

But now Joseph “gathered up courage” (Mark 15:43) and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. We learn from Mark that “Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph” (Mark 15:44–45).

The body of a victim normally would be given only to a family member. Often, however, even that humane consideration was not permitted, because public desecration of the body by throwing it into an open grave or onto a garbage heap was sometimes used as an additional warning about the serious consequences of opposing Rome.

But having already granted the Jewish leaders’ request to make sure the crucified men were dead and removed from their crosses before the Sabbath, and not wanting to anger those leaders any further, Pilate may have been glad to grant the body of Jesus to Joseph and have the matter ended. Because of their humiliation and intimidation of him, Pilate had no inclination to do the Sanhedrin a favor. But he could ill afford offending them again. He would not have known Joseph’s motive and perhaps assumed he was acting in behalf of his colleagues. Without asking for an explanation, Pilate immediately ordered Jesus’ body be given over to Joseph.

Joseph probably came to Pilate with little hope of receiving the body, and there are many reasons why his request might not have been granted. He certainly did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead or else he would not have given such careful attention to the body’s preparation and permanent interment. Yet his great love for Jesus led him to face the wrath of his fellow Council members and friends as well as the wrath of Pilate in order to offer this last gesture of respect to Christ.

The Lord had sovereignty caused the Jewish leaders to do their part in demanding that the bodies be taken down from the crosses before the end of the day. He had caused Pilate to grant that permission, caused Joseph’s request for the body, and caused Pilate’s permission once again. Now the Lord caused Joseph to secure, prepare, and inter Jesus’ body before Friday evening ended. None of those people realized they were fulfilling prophecy. As far as his own motives and understanding were concerned, even the godly Joseph did what he did for personal reasons. It seemed only right that this innocent Man in whom he had placed his faith have a respectable burial. There is no indication Joseph was even aware he was doing God’s will, much less fulfilling God’s Word.

Joseph did not hurry because he was afraid of violating the Sabbath. He had already defiled himself for Sabbath observance by going into the Praetorium to see Pilate and was about to defile himself further by handling the dead body of Jesus. He operated with haste because, like every other participant in this great drama, he was being moved under God’s divinely ordained and scripturally predicted power and according to His timetable.

The more God’s Word is studied honestly and objective, the more convincingly its inerrancy is demonstratedú Over and over it proves itself accurate in every detail.

After removing it from the cross, Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock. Because of his devotion to Christ and because the tomb was very near Golgotha (John 19:42), it seems probable that, although he was a wealthy man and had many servants, Joseph carried the body himself.

John reports that Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee and almost certainly a member of the Sanhedrin (see John 3:1), joined Joseph at the tomb, “bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.” Together, “they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (19:39–40). Unlike the Egyptians, the Jews did not attempt to embalm bodies but simply encased them in strongly perfumed burial cloths to help mask the stench of decay.

As pointed out in The Harmony of the Gospels (Robert L. Thomas and Stanley N. Gundry, eds. [Chicago: Moody, 1978], p. 250), “The disciples who had openly followed Jesus during His lifetime ran away at the end, but the two who had kept their faith secret while He was alive … came forward publicly to give Him an appropriate burial.”

Although the gospels mention only that Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Joses were watching the burial (Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47), it is possible that they assisted Joseph and Nicodemus. Later, they prepared their own spices and came to the tomb early Sunday morning, planning to further anoint Jesus’ body (Luke 23:56-24:1).

After the body was wrapped, Joseph rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. Graves were commonly secured in some way, often with a large stone placed over the entrance, in order to prevent desecration of the body by animals or birds and to prevent grave robbers from stealing the valuables that were often buried with the deceased.

Two Marys

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  1. Jesus and His Friends (27:55–66)

Once He had finished His work of redemption, note that Jesus Christ was not again touched by enemy hands. While Christ was being made sin for us, God permitted people to do their worst. But when the work was finished, God permitted only Christ’s friends to handle Him. Joseph and Nicodemus were certainly believers, otherwise they would not have defiled themselves on the Passover by burying the body of Jesus. They no longer needed a Passover lamb; they had discovered forgiveness in the Lamb of God. Nicodemus had come to Jesus by night (John 3) and had defended Him before the Council (John 7:45–53). Apparently, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea had done what the Council suggested—“Search and look” (John 7:52). As they searched the Scriptures, they were enlightened by the Spirit to understand about Christ’s sufferings and glory. From Daniel’s prophecy they would understand when He would die and from other Scriptures why and how He would die. Thus, they had the tomb and spices prepared (John 19:38–42) and were near at hand when Jesus died. Thus did God in His providence care for the body of His Son, and thus was the prophecy of Isa. 53:9 fulfilled.

The Jewish leaders remembered what the disciples forgot: that Christ promised to come out of the tomb after three days. How unfortunate it is when Satan and his children know the Bible better than Christians do! The Jews called Christ “that deceiver” (v. 63), little realizing that one day the nation of Israel will accept the “arch-deceiver,” the Antichrist, and make a covenant with him. “Make it as sure as you can” (v. 65), was all Pilate could say. But no earthly seal could hinder Christ from coming out of the tomb as He promised.

[15]

 

 

 

 

[1]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[2]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[3]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[4]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

  1. confer, compare

lit. literal, literally

i.e. id est, that is

  1. verse
  2. verses

imperf. imperfect

[5]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, IL

  1. confer, compare

NIV New International Version

  1. verses
  2. verse

[6]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, IL

  1. confer, compare

[7]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, IL

  1. confer, compare

NIV New International Version

  1. page

[8]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, IL

[9]Clarke, A. 1999. Clarke’s Commentary: Matthew (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Clarke’s Commentaries . Ages Software: Albany, OR

[10]The Gospel of Matthew : Volume 2. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily Study Bible, Rev. ed. The Westminster Press: Philadelphia

NIV Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

NRSV Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyrighted, 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

[11]Barton, B. B. 1993. John. Life application Bible commentary . Tyndale House: Wheaton, Ill.

[12]Barton, B. B. 1994. Mark. Life application Bible commentary . Tyndale House Publishers: Wheaton, Ill.

[13]MacArthur, J. J. 1997, c1997. The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) . Word Pub.: Nashville

  1. confer (Lat.), compare

eds. editor; editted by

  1. page

[14]MacArthur, J. 1989. Matthew. Moody Press: Chicago

[15]Wiersbe, W. W. 1997, c1992. Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

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