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And He was buried. Luke 23.50-56

Luke 23 (6)

Pray Psalm 88.13-16.
But to You I have cried out, O LORD,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
LORD, why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;
I suffer Your terrors;
I am distraught.
Your fierce wrath has gone over me;
Your terrors have cut me off.

Sing Psalm 88.13-16.
(Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)
Morning comes and, Lord, I am crying. Why do You my soul reject?
From my youth have I been dying; pain and terrors sore afflict.
Fear and anger, sorely trying, overwhelm, destroy, reject.

Read Luke 23.1-56; meditate on verses 50-56.


1. For what was Joseph of Arimathea waiting?

2. What did the women observe?

It took great courage for Joseph, a man of the Jewish council, to go to Pilate, requesting the body of Jesus (vv. 50-52; cf. Mk. 15.43). He was joined by Nicodemus, who undoubtedly never forgot that night-time interview with Jesus (Jn. 19.39). These men risked reputations and possibly lives by this action. How were they able to do it?

Joseph, by fixing his mind on the Kingdom that Jesus promised was coming (v. 51), and Nicodemus, by recalling that dramatic encounter with Jesus in John 3. Each in his own way looked to Jesus for the courage to identify with and honor Him.

They took the body of Jesus to the tomb Joseph had prepared for himself (Matt. 27.59, 60) and embalmed it according to Jewish practice (Jn. 19.40). “And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid” (v. 55). This is important because it eliminated any possibility that, when Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John came to the empty tomb, they might have come to the wrong one. The women went away to prepare further aromatic spices to anoint the body of Jesus (v. 56).

The Jews requested a guard to make sure the disciples didn’t steal the body (Matt. 27.62-66). They foolishly believed that a heavily-armed Roman guard could keep Jesus in the tomb. All this was accomplished on the same day Jesus died, on Friday, so that no work would be done on the Sabbath. Friday was the first day in the tomb, Saturday the second, and the early morning hours of Sunday would be the third.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
(Col. 1.21, 22).

“…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2.24; Is. 53.5).

This body of our beloved Savior, Who willingly gave Himself for the salvation of our souls—from the very beginning—placed His life in His Father’s hands. To be the Lamb Who would take away the sin of the world (Jn. 1.29).

This body that other people wrapped and swaddled and laid where they chose: “This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen…” (Lk. 23.52, 53).
“And this will be a sign to you; You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Lk. 2.12).
“…and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before” (Lk. 23.53).
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk. 2.7).

There was no room for Him in a house or crib at birth, and in death He was placed in a tomb not His own. Borrowed. Indeed, foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8.20; Lk. 9.58).

So when we are told: “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6.20), it is serious business. Jesus gave up every physical convenience, nicety, privacy, and dignity for us. He had nothing of a material nature so that we would have everything for our spiritual existence and eternity. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10.45).

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy Presence rest.

(Bernard of Clairvaux, 1150)

For reflection
1. Why was it necessary that Jesus die and be buried?

2. How can you have the kind of courage Joseph and Nicodemus demonstrated?

3. How can looking back at Jesus and ahead to the coming of His Kingdom help you in working your Personal Mission Field?

The highest commendation bestowed on Joseph is, that he waited for the kingdom of God. He is likewise praised, no doubt, for righteousness, but this waiting for the kingdom of God was the root and source of his righteousness.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Luke 23.51

Pray Psalm 88.1-12.
Give thanks and praise to God for Jesus Christ, Who died for our sins that we might live forever.

Sing Psalm 88.1-12.
(Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)
Lord of my salvation, hear me, as I cry by night and day.
Hear my plea, O Lord, bend near me; O, receive me when I pray!
For my soul is weak and weary, and my life draws near the grave.

Like a person thought to be dying, like a man whose strength is gone.
Like one with the slain now lying, like a dead and buried one.
For Your mercy I am sighing, cut off from Your hand and gone.

In the lowest pit You have set me, in a deep and darkening place.
All Your holy wrath has beset me, overwhelming me in waves.
All my former friends forget me; on me now they look with hate.

All day long I cry in vain, Lord, as my eye is wasting away.
Can a dead man sing Your praise, Lord? Can I testify from the grave?
Will I tell Your love again, Lord? Will I sing Your pow’r and grace?

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), 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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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