It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things. Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:44-56
Jesus has died on the cross and the crowd has a change of heart. They leave the place of execution beating their breasts aware for the first time that an innocent man has been executed. Even the Roman centurion in charge of the execution realizes that Jesus was an innocent man.
Then something strange happens. Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea, goes to Pilate to claim Jesus body for burial. Why is this strange? The reason is that just last night Joseph along with the rest of the Sanhedrin had tried Jesus and found Jesus guilty of blasphemy. They then turned Jesus over to Roman authority and demanded Jesus be executed. Now this Jewish leader wants to give Jesus a proper Jewish burial.
This is one of the facts recorded in the Gospel account that rings of authority and truth. Why, if the writers of the Gospels were making things up would they chose someone who only hours ago had condemned Jesus to be the one who buries Jesus. A made up story would have had the disciples showing courage and seeking Jesus body from Pilate. Instead the disciples had gone into hiding afraid the Jesus’ fate would be their fate.
In keeping with Jewish custom Jesus’ body was wrapped in a linen shroud with about 100 pounds of herbs, spices and aloes. He was laid in a tomb and it was sealed by rolling a large stone to cover the door. At this point it would have seemed to Jesus’ followers that all had been in vain. Nowhere in Jewish custom, tradition or reading of the scriptures was the Messiah supposed to die. The Jewish version of their Messiah was a conquering king who would rid them of foreign rule.
Have a blessed day,