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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


12. Jesus' Burial (Luke 23:50-56)

LUKE 23:50-56
50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. 55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

Christ said to the thief who was crucified with him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” “Paradise” is a Persian word meaning a garden, a term to describe the place of a faithful dead, in which they wait for the resurrection to everlasting life. After the death of his body, Christ’s soul entered into this expanse, where the godly dead rest. We do not know much about his movements and works other than what Peter said that he preached to the spirits in the prison of the dead who did not hear the gospel of salvation before (1 Peter 3:19; 4:6). Christ’s entry into the dwelling-places of the companions of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was a triumph. Christ did not preach long there, for his appearance among the souls of the dead produced in some of them immediate acceptance of the gospel, while others refused him completely. Those dead cannot do good works for their salvation, but their faith had saved them, and the unbelief of some destroyed them.

On earth, Christ’s death appeared as a defeat in a horrible battle. Christ’s body dangled lifelessly on the cross. No one had a right to remove it but by authority of the Roman magistrate. Suddenly a member of the Sanhedrin named Joseph of Arimathea came. Like Nicodemus, he had not consented to sentencing Jesus to death on the pretext of blasphemy. However they could do nothing, for the majority of sixty-eight members over-ruled them. Headless of being identified as one of the persecuted followers of the crucified Christ, Joseph dared to come to Pilate, the judge who condemned Jesus, and beg for the rejected body of Jesus to bury it. Pilate agreed, that he might get rid of this matter which troubled his conscience. Joseph also was regardless of becoming unclean, according to the Jewish belief that regarded as unclean those who touched a dead man before the Sabbath and the coming Feast of the Unleavened Bread. Joseph was sorrowful and displeased, for he knew that the kingdom of God did not come through fasting, laws, lengthy prayers, or self-righteousness, but began with Jesus Christ. So he confessed his belief in the dead King, even at the danger of death, for he loved Christ, and was angry when his fellow members of the Sanhedrin sentenced the Son of God to death.

This noble gentleman, together with his servants, took down the body of Jesus. He wrapped it in a linen shroud, hastily anointed it, and laid it in an excellent tomb that was hewn in stone, probably designed for Joseph’s own family. Thus Jesus was buried as a noble prince.

These formalities were completed as soon as possible, for the Sabbath was at hand. Hundreds of lambs and goats were slain in the courtyard of the temple while Jesus was hanged on the cross, shedding his blood as the worthy Lamb of God offered for all men.

Yet the majority of the Jewish people did not realize their salvation, but continued in their worship of the perishable law of past times.

Some of the women of Galilee who had followed Jesus and his disciples in his triumph procession, and ministered to the disciples, came first to the tomb that was hewn out of the rock. Having witnessed the burial and the place in which the body was laid, they hurried to the city to buy ointments and spices to embalm the body with expensive spices on the coming Sunday, for the Sabbath was a holy day on which nobody could buy, sell, anoint the dead, or do any other work. Yet when they came on Sunday, at the Feast of the Passover, they thought they would anoint him in his tomb for he was dead in fact, as they had already seen. They wept bitterly on that Day of the Passover, met sorrowing, and recollected the great things Jesus had done, who was devoured by the power of darkness.

PRAYER: O Lord, we worship you, for your death had brought our life. You preceded us to the abyss of death that we might not fear it, but follow you holding your hand assuredly and boldly, having committed our spirits into your hands. Take away the fear of death from the hearts of all believers, and give them the certainty of life eternal in your power. Amen.

QUESTION 142: Why did Christ have to die and rise from the dead?


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