December 16 - Luke 23:50-56

Monday, December 16, 2013

Luke 23:50-56 – Jesus is Buried

Luke’s re-telling of the burial of Jesus is fairly short and thankfully we have the other gospels to give us more information. He is very clear, though, on the goodness of the man, Joseph. Even though Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, Luke points out that he did not agree to the decision of the council and was one of the few who searched for the kingdom of God.

John writes more of the Jewish leadership’s concerns over having the bodies hang throughout the Sabbath, especially the Sabbath during the Passover. Even if Jesus and the two criminals weren't yet dead, they might die before the end of the day and that would pollute the holy day since they couldn't be removed until dusk the next evening.

Mark 15:44 tells us that Joseph of Arimathea told Pilate Jesus was already dead. This was surprising since crucifixion was not meant to happen quickly, but to last an excruciatingly long period of time.

When there is great persecution of Christians, there are always those who will stand up and be counted in support of Jesus Christ. Joseph was one of those who lived in secret until it was time for him to step forward. We are reminded over and over that God’s will and plan has been put into place. Had Joseph stepped forward much earlier to attempt to save Jesus’ life, the story might have played out much differently. Now was his time and these moments have gone down in history, reminding us that there is great goodness even in the midst of evil.

Because the Sabbath was nearly upon them, the women followed him to the tomb to make sure they knew where they would find the body once they could travel again. Then they returned to their homes to prepare the spices and ointment which would be needed to complete the body’s burial.

Luke ends this pericope by saying that they rested on the Sabbath, according to the commandment. After all they had been through the previous week, ending with the death of a close friend and one they knew to be the Messiah, exhaustion had to have taken everyone. They took the time necessary to rest.