Page 14 - November 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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gave instructions to make the tomb secure   body. The women who were present were
        “until the third day” (v64). Note also that   from Galilee, so what would they be able
        when Jesus prophesied His resurrection,   to do with His body? Again, it is likely
        He referred to its timing as both “after   that the rulers would’ve taken the bodies
        three days” (Mar 8:31) and on “the third   to an outside burial plot for condemned
        day” (9:31; 10:34). Neither Christ nor His   criminals. But just before they were able to
        enemies saw a discrepancy in their own   act, note the beautiful providence of God,
        remarks, nor should we. Luke’s timeline   who was working in the hearts of two men
        (see Luk 23:53-54) makes it clear that Jesus   to carry out a swift but respectful burial
        was buried on the day before the Sabbath,   for the Lord Jesus Christ. The 12 may have
        which would mean a Friday crucifixion.   fled, but two secret disciples suddenly ar-
        Christ’s resurrection is repeatedly said to   rived. It seems that God has His servants
        have occurred on “the third day,”  not “the   everywhere!
        fourth day” (or “the fifth day”) as a Thurs-  Joseph and Nicodemus were both
        day (or Wednesday) crucifixion would   members of the Jewish Sanhedrin.  Pilate
        imply. Regardless of the day, the Lord’s   could easily have become irritated by the
        burial involved a fulfillment of prophecy.   actions of this ruling body throughout
        Providence                            the day. They challenged his loyalty to
          Sundown was fast approaching, and   Caesar. They forced him to act against
        with it, the Sabbath. This “Sabbath was an   his own conscience by condemning an
        especially important one” (Joh 19:31 NET),   innocent man. The whole ordeal troubled
        since it was Passover. The Jewish leaders   his wife with nightmares. Then they tried
        were facing a significant challenge to have   to pressure him to change the title above
        the bodies  removed from the crosses and   Christ’s cross. The last person Pilate
        buried before 6 p.m. (at which time the   wanted to see was yet another member of
        Sabbath began).  As it was 3 p.m. when   the Sanhedrin coming to him with more
        the supernatural darkness lifted and Jesus   demands. Yet Joseph went to ask for Jesus’
        cried out, “My God, my God, why hast   body. He obviously couldn’t claim any
        thou forsaken me?” (see Mat 27:45,46),   rights to the body as a family member,
        this means the Jews had less than three   and Pilate might wonder why the rulers
                                              who wanted Jesus’ death would also want
        hours to accomplish the burial task. They
        couldn’t depend upon the Lord’s disciples   His body. But amazingly, Pilate gave him
        since they had abandoned Him.  No fam-  permission. Again, we see the wonderful
                                              providence of God.
        ily member stepped forward to claim His
                                                So, two Sanhedrin members oversaw
        ⁶ Mat 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 27:64; Mar 9:31; 10:34;   the dignified burial of the Man their
        Luk 9:22; 18:33; 24:7,21,46; Act 10:40; 1Co 15:4.
        ⁷ The plural “bodies” implies that the thieves   council had put to a shameful death. Luke
        crucified with Christ were also Jews.  informs us that Joseph “had not consented
        ⁸ Bodies of criminals were to be buried before   to their plan and action” (23:51 NET),
        sunset according to Deuteronomy 21:22-23, so
        as not to defile the land. As this was on the eve   which was likely also true of Nicodemus.
        of the Sabbath, a hasty burial was even more   The fact that they worked together to give
        important.                            the Lord Jesus an honorable burial implies
        ⁹ John had returned to the cross, but nothing   they knew of each other’s belief in Jesus
        more is said about him until the resurrection
        narratives.                           ¹⁰ See Mar 15:43; Luk 23:50,51; Joh 3:1; 7:45-52.

        334 TRUTH kTidings   November  2023
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