He Has Been Raised From the Dead

Jesus died and there are only a few hours before the end of the day. The Sabbath begins at sun down and any of the children of Israel know that he cannot be left where he is. Jesus disciples, not the apostles, but some of those that had been quietly, secretly following, now take action. Joseph goes to Pilate to claim Jesus body. Nicodemus goes for “a mixture of myrrh and aloes”. The women that had been there with Jesus help. They cover the tomb and in Luke 23:56 “on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment”. But the chief priests and the Pharisees go to Pilate to seal the tomb and place guards who stand watch until the third day. When the women return to the tomb, they are met by an angel who says, “He has been raised … Why are you looking for the living among the dead?”.

The Burial of Jesus

Matthew 27:57-61
Mark 15:42-47
Luke 23:50-56
John 19:38-42 

Joseph Asked for the Body of Jesus

Matthew 27:57–61
At the ninth hour, Jesus had spoken his last words and died. There are only a few hours of daylight left. For the Jews, the day ends at sun down and “Under Jewish law, the corpse needed to be buried the same day or the land would be defiled (Deut 21:22–23)”.1

Jesus mother had been there and “According to Roman law, the relatives of a criminal might claim his body for burial … Now none of Jesus’ relatives was in a position to claim his body, for they were all Galilaeans and none of them possessed a tomb in Jerusalem”.2

There were also other of Jesus disciples there at the cross, and one of them was Joseph, a man unknown to us until now. Each of the four gospel accounts gives a little bit of information about this man Joseph. Here in

Matthew 27:57–58 (LEB) Now when it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who also was a disciple of Jesus himself. 58 This man approached Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.

Then we learn that Joseph was a well known man in Jerusalem in

Mark 15:43 (LEB) “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the council who was also himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came acting courageously and went in to Pilate”.

This man had been in the council sessions as they discussed killing Jesus and had opposed that plan. We also sometimes find ourselves out voted and an evil plan is carried out as we learn in

Luke 23:50–51 (LEB) “And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the council, a good and righteous man 51 (this man was not consenting to their plan and deed), from Arimathea, a Judean town, who was looking forward to the kingdom of God”.

Finally, we learn that Joseph was a secret disciple because the Jews had threatened much earlier in John 9:22 (LEB) “that if anyone should confess him to be Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue” and for these people, the synagogue was their life. So in

John 19:38 (LEB) “And after these things, Joseph who was from Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus (but a secret one for fear of the Jews)”

It Was the Day of Preparation

Mark 15:42–47
There is an urgency in Mark 15:42 “it was already evening … the day before the Sabbath”. Joseph moves quickly and in Mark 15:43 “asked for the body of Jesus”. But in Mark 15:44 “Pilate was surprised that he was already dead”.

Crucifixion was a torturous way to die. It took time and “Death usually occurred due to the loss of blood circulation, or suffocation and heart failure. Death did not come quickly, it could take days of hideous pain as the extremities turned slowly gangrenous, or the victim could no longer hold himself upright so that he could intake air.3

Having permission from Pilate, Joseph goes quickly to make the final preparations.

The Sabbath Was Drawing Near

Luke 23:50–56
There was little time, so they did what they could. They wrapped Jesus body as was their custom. They applied the fragrant spices and perfumes. Then, the day was done and in Luke 23:56 “on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment”. 

The Tomb Was Close By

John 19:38–42
There were also others that helped, in

John 19:39 (LEB) And Nicodemus—the one who had come to him formerly at night—also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about a hundred pounds.

But none of this would have been possible if Joseph had not offered his own tomb that in John 19:42 “was close by”. We sometimes think that the person in charge must tell us what to do. And, it is possible that Peter, or James, or John might have taken charge of Jesus body. But there are times when a person others might call a by-stander, is the very person God needs to fulfill his plan. Joseph moved from being a secret disciple, to being an essential leader, and I don’t think we hear any more about him in the New Testament.

Give Orders That the Tomb be Made Secure

Matthew 27:62–66
It occurs to the chief priests and Pharisees that someone might move Jesus body. They are schemers and think that way. So, on the Sabbath, the day to honor the Lord, they are all “assembled before Pilate” in Matthew 27:62-64 asking him to “give orders that the tomb be made secure”. These men won’t do any work on the Sabbath but they don’t think twice about putting someone else to work.

The Tomb is Empty, The Resurrection of Jesus

Matthew 28:1-8
Mark 16:1-8
Luke 24:1-12
John 20:1-13 

He Has Been Raised From the Dead

Matthew 28:1–8
The tomb had a great stone cover. But that wasn’t enough, the religious leaders had the stone sealed and placed guards around the tomb. That was until in Matthew 28:2-7 when “an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came up and rolled away the stone and sat down on it … and the guards … became like dead men”. The angel said “he has been raised” and showed them the tomb and instructed the women “he is going ahead of you into Galilee”. “Matthew has recorded several explicit predictions of the resurrection (16:21; 17:23; 20:19, and implicitly 12:40). But the one the angel refers to specifically is 26:32, ‘After I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee’, a prediction which is about to be fulfilled in vv. 16–20”.4

He is not Here!

Mark 16:1–8

Why Look for the Living Among the Dead?

Luke 24:1–12

Why Are You Weeping?

John 20:1–13

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Matthew 27:57-61
  • Matthew 28:1-8
  • Mark 15:42-47
  • Mark 16:1-8
  • Luke 23:50-56
  • Luke 24:1-12
  • John 19:38-42
  • John 20:1-13

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – The Gospels

This series follows the order of readings from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much different context and helps us understand the move of God as He is introducing the Saviour, the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. This series begins with Return To Me And I Will Return To You at the end of Malachi and introduces the “Witnesses” writing the Gospels.

Operation Exodus

is helping Jewish people return to their homeland. You might fund one that desires to go home. http://operationexodususa.org/Overview


  • 1. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Mt 27:58). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • 2. Barclay, W. (2001). The Gospel of Matthew (Third Ed., p. 434). Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press.
  • 3. Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 489). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
  • 4. France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 1, p. 413). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.