The Scriptorium


Joseph acted boldly to claim the body of Christ. Matthew 27.57-61

Matthew 27: Crucified (5)

Pray Psalm 16.8, 9.
I have set the LORD always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.

Sing Psalm 16.8, 9, 11.
(All to Christ: Jesus Paid It All)
You are ever with me, Lord; in You I shall not fall.
But rejoicing in Your Word, I abide within Your call.
Refrain v. 11
Make me know life’s way! Pleasures fill Your hand.
Fill my life with joy each day! Before Your face I stand.

Read Matthew 27.1-61; Meditate on verses 57-61.

1. What did Joseph of Arimathea do?

2. Who was there with him?


Mark and John tell us that Joseph’s selfless act required great courage (Mk. 15.43; Jn. 19.38). We can certainly imagine that this was so. Identifying with Jesus before the man who had sentenced Him to death was a risky undertaking. Joseph apparently had prepared this tomb for himself (v. 60), but here he selflessly devoted it to receive the body of Jesus.

In Rembrandt’s painting, “Deposition of Jesus from the Cross,” we get a sense of what was involved in taking Jesus down and bearing Him to the tomb. This is a very sad and tender painting, and it shows Joseph, standing at the right, carefully supervising the work of those who helped him. The man in blue, half-way up the cross to the left, and clinging to the right hand of Jesus, is a self-portrait of the artist, and one of the ways he bore witness to his own – however imperfect – love for Jesus. We see the linen cloth as it may have been used to lower Jesus, and the women who were present at this time.

Having wrapped Jesus in a linen cloth, soaked with “about a hundred pounds” of myrrh and aloes (Jn. 19.39, 40), Joseph laid the body on the slab in the tomb. Matthew says he closed the tomb by rolling “a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” He must have had some help with this as well, since when the women came to the tomb on the third day, they wondered who might help them move the stone (Mk. 16.3).

Jesus was buried on Friday – day 1. He would remain in the tomb through all of Saturday – day 2. And on the third day, He would rise again.

1. Why are these details about the burial of Jesus important?

2. How should we be encouraged by the act of Joseph of Arimathea?

3. Why do you suppose Matthew once again (cf. vv. 55, 56) tells us about the women who were present?

This was Joseph of Arimathea, who had been hiding his discipleship up to this time. Now, however, he had become very bold after the death of Christ. Joseph was not an obscure person. He was highly visible, a member of the council and highly distinguished. From this it becomes clear that he was a man of special courage. For he exposed himself to death, taking upon him the enmity of all by his affection for Jesus.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 88.2

Lord, give me the courage of Joseph today as I…

Pray Psalm 16.1-7, 10, 11.
Thank God that Jesus carried your sins away into the tomb, and that He rose again for your salvation. Ask Him to help you live free of sin today.

Sing Psalm 16.1-7, 10, 11.
Psalm 16.1-7, 10, 11 (All to Christ: Jesus Paid It All)
Preserve me, O my God; I refuge seek in You.
You alone are all my good, my Lord and Savior true!
Refrain v. 11
Make me know life’s way! Pleasures fill Your hand.
Fill my life with joy each day! Before Your face I stand.

The saints within the earth, majestic in their day,
delight me with the worth of all they do and say.

They endless tears shall weep who worship idols vain.
Their ways I will not keep, nor speak their empty names.

My portion and my cup are You, my Savior dear;
You help and hold me up and ever keep me near.

I bless Your Name, O Lord; my mind instructs each night.
You teach me by Your Word and guide me in the right.

Soon Your glory I shall see, for as Jesus rose again,
You will come to gather me to my home with You in heav’n.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore