Title: Gospel of John [19:30-42]. Christ's burial, part 1.
JOH 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
In a display of power that was only granted to Him He voluntarily gave up His spirit. Man did not kill Him, nor did He kill Himself.
He died a spiritual death voluntarily and then He released His soul and spirit from His own body voluntarily. No man, Jew or Gentile, could ever proclaim that he had killed Christ.
So much of the world, and sadly of Christians who are more of the world in behavior and thinking than they are spiritual, do not understand this simple but profound aspect of Christ's death.
Christ died spiritually for the sin of the world, not physically. His physical death was the next stage in God's program for human history - the church.
His last cry was not that of a dying man but a victorious man, albeit completely exhausted. This was noticed by the centurion and it deeply impressed him, while the earthquake frightened him.
MAR 15:37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.
MAR 15:38 And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
MAR 15:39 And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
The centurion does not say "the" Son of God and so he stated, "Truly this man was a Son of God." This does not mean that he's a believer.
But certainly this man, who had witnessed many a scene of horror at other crucifixions had never seen anything like this. It certainly made in impression on his mind and was here just a step away from salvation through faith in Christ. We cannot doubt that the same thing happened to many who had witnessed the unique crucifixion of our Lord.
There is one and only one Son of God and it could be that the centurion is just borrowing the title as he heard it and exclaiming that this man was extraordinary but the way he said it doesn't mean anything definite.
Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."
Christ was the only man that encountered death, not as one conquered, but as the conqueror. Death did not approach Christ but He approached death and died uniquely as conqueror and victor.
During His one utterance while forsaken by the Father He addresses Him as "My God" but then in His last utterance, no longer forsaken, He addresses Him as Father. The agony of a severed relationship is now restored, never to happen again. His spirit goes to the Father to remain in sweet fellowship with Him forever.
The word "Father" is not in the OT passage (PSA 31:5) but it is here added by Christ due to His love of fellowship with His Father.
And then a shudder ran through nature. The temple veil was torn in two and the quaking of the earth tearing rocks apart and opening graves. They may have occurred simultaneously or successively.
The Talmud records that the massive doors leading into the holy place opened by themselves and it also records that the Sanhedrin could no longer function in the temple but had to move elsewhere. These could be indicators of the damage that the earthquake did to the temple.
The tearing of the veil is seen as opening the holy of holies for all but in reality, that room was no longer the holy of holies.
While the implication of the torn veil as the entrance for all men is correct, the entrance is no longer there but at the right hand of God, the true tabernacle not made with hands.
The holy of holies in the temple was an earthly and temporary presence of the Shekinah glory, but now Christ has entered through the veil into heaven at the right hand of God and that is now the true holy of holies and there every believer resides forever.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
He takes away the first in order to establish the second.
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh
The right hand of God would be the Holy of Holies forever, and anyone may enter regardless of sin through the blood of Christ by faith in Him.
And now that spring day was drawing to a close, which is 6pm and the evening of the Sabbath would begin.
In general, the Law ordered that the body of a criminal should not be left hanging unburied over night. Pilate would usually have rejected their request, but that Sabbath was a 'high day.'
And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
The Romans desired for the crucified to be alive on the cross for days so as to have the maximum impact on as many witnesses as possible. Imagine witnessing the crucified for two or three days, each time you passed they would be in more agony and begging for death to end the torture. That would certainly make anyone think twice before committing a crime against Rome. But Pilate was likely sympathetic to the Jews since this Sabbath was the second Passover day which was thought to be just as holy as the first one for it was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread.
Feast of unleavened bread fell on a Sabbath day:
'Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 'On the first day you shall have a holy convocation [meeting to worship]; you shall not do any laborious work.
The fourteenth day is Passover and the fifteenth is the first day of the seven day feast of unleavened bread of which the first day and the seventh day were a day of a holy meeting in order to worship Jehovah.
Leaven pictures sin and so during and after the Passover, for a total of eight days, the Jews were only to eat unleavened bread and keep all leaven out of their homes. This was a picture of God's cleansing of sin by means of the Passover Lamb. Therefore this day was as holy to them as the Passover and for it to fall on a Sabbath, as it naturally would every several years, made it a special day or what the gospel calls a high day.
Because of the importance of this day Pilate gave the order to have their legs broken and the bodies taken down.
JOH 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Some believe that the breaking of the bones was a way of compensation for bringing death so early. The Romans might add to the punishment by breaking bones with a club in a manner that would not bring death but only intensify the suffering and some believe that in this case Pilate compromised the early death of the prisoners with this punishment issued first and death brought on by the spear. The more popular opinion is that the legs were broken so that the person couldn't push up any longer to inhale and so they would quickly die by asphyxiation.
If the order to break the legs were not given then we wouldn't have known so certainly that a bone of Him was not broken, as was commanded of the Pascal lamb and foretold of the Messiah.
JOH 19:32 The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him;
JOH 19:33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs;
JOH 19:34 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.
JOH 19:35 And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.
JOH 19:36 For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of Him shall be broken."
John makes clear that he was an eyewitness and that his witness is true.
these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
No one has ever written that they were there and saw anything different; no other witness has contradicted his account.
JOH 21:24 This is the disciple who bears witness of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his witness is true.
JOH 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.
It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.
He keeps all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
JOH 19:37 And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."
/No less remarkable is the fact of another fulfilled prophecy that would be a sure identification for one man after His resurrection and for a whole nation at His Second Coming - His deeply pierced side.\
JOH 20:26 And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be with you."
JOH 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing."
JOH 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
JOH 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
In REV 1:7 and MAT 24:30 these words are clearly applied to Christ's second coming.
Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.
and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
The soldiers divided and cast lots for His clothes, they broke the legs of the other men, and they pierced His side, all action completely ignorant of Biblical prophecy but foretold by God for the accomplishment of His purpose.
John is concerned with the fact of death and not the cause of death. For John and the HS it was imperative to establish the reality of Jesus' physical death.
False doctrines that Christ did not really die came quickly upon the church and are still heralded today. This is called docetism which has many forms. The Quran states in 4.156 that "they did not kill him, neither did they crucify him, it only seemed to be so."
Many have theorized the cause of death through the flow of blood and water and as one would expect there are varying opinions and so I will not speculate. What is important is the fact of His death which is crucial to the fact of His resurrection.
JOH 19:38 And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came therefore, and took away His body.
Joseph of Arimathaea receives honorable mention from all four gospels, but only in connection with his rendering this last service to the body of Christ. According to Mark and Luke, he was a member of the Sanhedrin. He cautiously concealed his faith and discipleship in Jesus and it is not too odd to understand that now he throws all caution to the wind and reveals his true colors.
MAR 15:42 And when evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
MAR 15:43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.
MAR 15:44 And Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead.
Though he gave the order to have the legs broken he is still fairly shocked at how rapidly the death of Jesus had occurred.
MAR 15:45 And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.
MAR 15:46 And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
MAR 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.
In the entrance to the tomb there was a court, nine feet square, where the body would be laid on some platform and the hasty anointing took place. The only ones who followed were Mary Magdalene and Mary wife of Clopas. They would have had to stand far off because to mingle around two men of the Sanhedrin was prohibited under Jewish manners. So when they returned to the tomb on Sunday they brought more spices so that they could serve the body of Jesus which they were unable to during His burial.
And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;
He was likely at the crucifixion and what he saw made him realize how silly it was to hide his faith in Christ because of certain persecution.