The Gospel of John
1. The apostle Paul defines the Gospel for us in I Corinthians 15:3, 4.
2. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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.”
3. Last Sunday night we saw how our Lord died for our sins according to the Scriptures (19:24, 28, 36, 37).
4. Lord willing, next Sunday we will see how our Lord rose from the dead (John 20).
5. Tonight we will see how our Lord was buried – “And that He was buried…” (I Cor. 15:4). The Jewish leaders did not want our Lord’s body to stay up on the cross after sundown (John 19:31), but they did not care what happened to it. They would have been happy to see it tossed onto a pile of garbage.
6. But God providentially saw to it that His beloved Son was buried properly.
I. THE MEN WHO BURIED OUR LORD
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY BURIED OUR LORD
III. THE PLACE WHERE THEY BURIED OUR LORD
I. THE MEN WHO BURIED OUR LORD (JOHN 19:38, 39).
1. We are introduced here for the first time to Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a secret disciple of our Lord.
2. Matthew 27:57 tells us he was a rich man (cf. Isaiah 53:9).
3. Mark 15:43 tells us Joseph was “an honorable counselor” (a member of the Sanhedrin).
4. Luke 23:50 says he was “a counselor, and he was a good man, and a just.”
5. The other man is Nicodemus (also a member of the Sanhedrin), mentioned here in the Gospel of John for the third time (John 3:1; 7:50).
6. FB Meyer, in his commentary on the Gospel of John, writes, “As we pursue this narrative, many thoughts are suggested.” He then goes on to mention:
a. “We see the minute fulfillment of prophetic Scriptures. – It has been written by Isaiah on the page of inspiration, that the Messiah would make His grave with the rich. When Jesus died that prophecy seemed most unlikely of accomplishment; but it was literally fulfilled.”
b. “We learn, too, that there are more friends of Christ in the world than we know. – They sit in our legislatures, in our councils, in our pews; we meet them day after day; they give little or no sign of their discipleship; the most large-hearted friend would be surprised to hear that they were Christians. But they are Christ’s. Christ knows and owns them. But if they are secret disciples now, they will not be secret disciples always. A time will come when the fire of their love will burn the bushel that hides it, and they will avow themselves on the Lord’s side.”
c. “We gather, too, that God can always find instruments to carry out His purposes. – The immediate followers of Christ could not see how to preserve the beloved corpse from defilement, but God had His place and His servants ready; and at the very crisis of need He brought them to the point.”
7. There is an interesting phrase found here in John 19:38 – “for fear of the Jews” (cf. 7:13; 9:22; 20:19; 12:42).
8. I did not watch Mel Gibson’s “Passion” movie and I do not know if I ever will but I recall that when he first began filming it he could not find any producers or investors. He had to bankroll the entire project himself.
9. Why? “For fear of the Jews.” Many Jewish organizations did everything they could to hinder Gibson from making his movie. In fact, I read somewhere that they forced him to omit Matthew 27:25. “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”
10. They can remove it from a movie but they cannot remove it from the Word of God.
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY BURIED OUR LORD (19:40).
1. There is no mention anywhere in the Bible of the so-called “shroud of Turin,” yet millions of RC’s are convinced that this shroud is the actual burial cloth of our Lord.
2. “The Shroud Is A Fake!” — “Radiocarbon tests of the shroud done in 1988 dated the cloth at A.D. 1260 to 1390—seeming to rule it out as Jesus’ burial cloth and suggesting it is a medieval forgery (Huntsville Times 3/25/05). We do not need the Shroud or anything else to prove that Jesus died and rose again. Eyewitness accounts in the Bible are sufficient” (Calvary Contender).
III. THE PLACE WHERE THEY BURIED OUR LORD (19:41, 42).
1. How wonderful it is to read verse 41 – “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden…” A garden! Next to the cross!
2. W Graham Scroggie wrote, “A cross, a garden, a tomb, a body! Here ugliness and beauty, death and life meet; but it is the beauty and the life that triumph” (The Gospel of John).
3. Flowers were blooming around this symbol of suffering and shame. What a contrast! FB Meyer wrote, “One loves to dwell upon the thought that Golgotha was part of that garden – that earth’s fairest, brightest, gentlest nurslings were there, mingling their smiles and balm with the trampling angry footsteps and the cursings of malignant foes…Was it not symbolical? In the garden man fell; in a garden he was redeemed! And that death of Christ has sown our world with the flowers of peace and joy and blessedness, so that many a wilderness has begun to rejoice and to blossom as the rose.”
1. Once more we are reminded that for the Christian the grave is not the end. Just as Christ rose victoriously from the grave so will we.
2. Matthew Henry said, “Christ’s death should comfort us against the fear of death. The grave could not long keep Christ, and it shall not long keep us.”
3. But for the unbeliever the grave is just the beginning of his troubles. Everlasting punishment awaits those who reject the Gospel of Christ.