The Book of Mark
James J. Barker


Lesson 56
THE BURIAL OF JESUS

Text: MARK 15:42-47


INTRODUCTION:


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 (Mark 15:37).

4.     Lord willing, next Sunday we will see how our Lord rose from the dead (16:6).

5.     Tonight we will see how our Lord was buried – “And that He was buried…” (I Cor. 15:4). 

6.     In Mark 15:42, we read that “the even was come…”

7.     There were still three hours remaining till sundown, and the Jewish leaders did not want our Lord’s body to stay up on the cross when the Sabbath began.

8.     Mark does not give us these details, but John does – “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away” (John 19:31).

9.     Apparently the Jewish leaders did not care what happened to our Lord’s body, as long as it was taken down and removed.  

10. But God providentially saw to it that His beloved Son was given a proper burial.

 

I. WHEN WAS JESUS BURIED?

II. WHO BURIED JESUS?

III. WHERE WAS JESUS BURIED?

 

I. WHEN WAS JESUS BURIED?

1.    It is my belief that Jesus Christ died and was buried on Thursday afternoon.

2.    One of the biggest days in Christendom is so-called “Good Friday.”  This is supposedly the day that our Lord was crucified.

3.    Though this day is widely acknowledged as the day our Lord was crucified and buried, it is not taught in the Bible.  Like many religious traditions, people assume it is taught in the Bible.

4.    Roman Catholics assume many things that are not taught in Scripture.

5.    For example, they assume that the Bible teaches Peter was the first pope, that Mary is to be worshipped, that we should pray to saints and angels, that Jesus and His disciples were Roman Catholics, that people go to a place called purgatory when they die, etc.

6.    What a shock it is when they discover that none of these things are taught in the Bible.  Thank God, many RC’s get saved when they start reading the Bible.

7.    Many RC traditions and teachings have been carried over to the Protestant churches, and unfortunately many of them have even drifted over into Baptist churches.

8.    We must be very careful to keep our doctrine right, because there is constant pressure to compromise.

9.    Many people assume that since the Bible teaches that Jesus died “the day before the sabbath” (Mark 15:42), and Saturday is the Jewish sabbath, therefore He must have died on Friday.

10. But let us consider the phrase, “when the even was come” (15:42).  “Even” means sunset. Leviticus 23:32 says, “From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.”

11. Mark 1:32 says, “And at even, when the sun did set…”

12. Therefore, the sunset marked the beginning of a new day.  That is why orthodox Jews rush home before the sun sets on Friday evening.

13. Our Lord died at approximately 3 PM, three hours before sunset or “even.” This particular “even” or sunset when Joseph of Arimathea begged the body of Jesus from Pilate was the beginning of the day of preparation, i.e. Friday, the day before the sabbath (Mark 15:42-45).

14. Therefore, it was at even or sunset, the beginning of Friday, not the sunset of Friday.  It was Thursday afternoon, the beginning of Friday, not Friday afternoon, the beginning of the sabbath.

15. According to Mark 15:34, our Lord died at the ninth hour (3 PM).  This would be on Thursday afternoon (Mark 15:34-37).

16. This was the time when the passover lamb was to be slain. Exodus 12:6 says, “The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it (the passover lamb) in the evening.”

17. At the very moment when the passover lamb was being slaughtered, our Lord – the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world – was crucified on Mt. Calvary.

18. Our Lord said in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

19. This would be impossible if our Lord died on Friday, for that would be only two days and two nights.

20. Those who claim our Lord was crucified on Friday, say that among the Jews it was a common practice to reckon a part of a day for a whole day.  And it is true we often do that ourselves.  We might say, “I was out of town for three days,” when was actually it was from Monday evening to Wednesday afternoon.

21. And there is a Biblical basis for this usage.  For example, King Rehoboam told Jeroboam and his companions, “Come again unto me after three days” (II Chron. 10:5). 

22. Then we read, “So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day” (II Chron. 10:12). 

23. Obviously, it was understood that “after three days” meant, “Come again to me on the third day.”

24. Our Lord said in Mark 8:31 that He would “be killed, and after three days rise again.”  This then does not mean three full 24-hour days.  However, our Lord did say, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

25. The words, “and three nights,” make a Friday crucifixion and burial impossible. 

 

II. WHO BURIED JESUS?

1.     In Isaiah 53:9, the prophet Isaiah prophesied, “And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death…” 9).  

2.     “The wicked” refers to the two thieves, and “the rich” refers to Joseph of Arimathaea (Mark 15:43).

3.     We are introduced to Joseph of Arimathaea here for the first time.  Matthew, Luke, and John also refer to Joseph of Arimathea, and how he buried our Lord.

4.     Luke 23:50 says he was “a good man, and a just.”

5.     Luke 23:51 says he “waited for the kingdom of God.” 

6.     He was a secret disciple, for we read in John 19:38, “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.”   

7.     In accordance with Isaiah’s prophecy, Matthew 27:57 says that Joseph was a “rich man.”

8.     We know nothing about Joseph apart from what we learn from these few verses.

9.     Only John tells us that Nicodemus assisted Joseph (John 19:39).  Since Joseph was a rich man, he probably had servants helping him as well.

10.Luke 23:51 says Joseph of Arimathaea was a member of the “counsel” (The Sanhedrin), but he “had not consented to the counsel and deed of them.”

11.In other words, he did not agree with their plan to crucify Christ. Mark 14:64 says the verdict was unanimous so Joseph must have been absent when they voted.

12.Joseph went “boldly” to Pilate (this took some courage) and asked if he might have the privilege of removing the body of Jesus from the cross and giving it a proper burial (Mark 15:43).

13.Permission was granted (Mark 15:44, 45), and Joseph buried our Lord (Mark 15:46, 47).

14.Though Joseph of Arimathaea kept a low profile during our Lord’s ministry, he is famous now as the man who buried our Lord.

15.The faithful women who followed our Lord, and stayed with Him at the cross, now followed Joseph as he carried our Lord’s body to the tomb (15:47).

 

III. WHERE WAS JESUS BURIED?

1.     Mark 15:46 says Joseph of Arimathea, “bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.”

2.     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.

3.     We do not need this shroud or anything else to prove that Jesus died and rose again. The Bible is the Word of God, and Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

4.     Numerous radiocarbon tests have been done, and they all conclude that the shroud of Turin is a fake.  Scientists have dated the cloth somewhere between A.D. 1260 and 1390 – ruling it out as Jesus’ burial cloth and suggesting it is a medieval forgery.

5.     Their study prompted the then archbishop of Turin, where the shroud is stored, to admit that the garment was a hoax.

6.     John 19:41 says, “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden…” A garden next to the cross!

7.     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).

8.     FB Meyer wrote, “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.” 

 

CONCLUSION:

FB Meyer makes some interesting observations about Joseph of Arimathea.

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.” 

 

 



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