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After the crucifixion of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea buried Him in a tomb. The four writers of the Synoptic Gospels each record this event:


Joseph of Arimathea

MATTHEW 27:57-60

"When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. Then Pilate ordered that it be released. So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in clean, fine linen, and placed it in his new tomb, which he had cut into the rock. He left after rolling a great stone against the entrance of the tomb."

MARK 15:43

"Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body."

LUKE 23:50-53

"There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, who had not agreed with their plan and action. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God. He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever been placed."

JOHN 19:38

"After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus—but secretly because of his fear of the Jews—asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus’s body. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and took his body away."


Who is Joseph of Arimathea and why is he so important?


Joseph of Arimathea was a "rich man" (Mt 27:57), "a councilor of honorable estate," or member of the Sanhedrin (Mr 15:43; Lu 23:50), "a good and righteous man.... who was looking for the kingdom of God" (Lu 23:50; Mr 15:43), and "himself was Jesus' disciple" (Mt 27:57; Joh 19:38). Although he kept his discipleship secret "for fear of the Jews" (Joh 19:38), he was yet faithful to his allegiance in that he absented himself from the meeting which found Jesus guilty of death (compare Lu 23:51; Mr 14:64).

But the condemnation of his Lord awakened the courage and revealed the true faith of Joseph. On the evening after the crucifixion he went "boldly" to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. There is a fine touch in that he himself took down the body from the cross. With the assistance of Nicodemus he wound it in fine linen with spices (compare Mt 27:57, Joseph was a "rich man") and brought it to the new sepulcher in the garden near the place of His crucifixion. There they "laid him in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man had yet lain" and ‘rolled a stone against the door of the tomb' (compare Mt 27:57-60; Mr 15:42-46; Lu 23:50-53; Joh 19:38-42). In this was held to be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isa 53:9.


Among early Christians, there was significant resentment against Jewish religious leaders (1 Thessalonians 2:15). Joseph of Arimathea's Judaic leadership role makes the account of his assistance in the burial of Jesus something that is unlikely to have been fabricated by the followers of Jesus.



In the video below, Dr. William Lane Craig addresses the following question:

Why does the story of Joseph of Arimathea taking Jesus' body for burial make sense?






"For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve."

In regards the 1 Corinthians 5, Dr. William Lane Craig states, "The Apostle Paul Paul not only uses the typical rabbinical terms “received” and “delivered” with regard to the information he is passing on to the Corinthians, but vv. 3-5 are a highly stylized four-line formula filled with non-Pauline characteristics. This has convinced all scholars that Paul is, as he says, quoting from an old tradition which he himself received after becoming a Christian." 1


Question to consider: Where do you believe the body of Jesus was taken after His crucifixion and why?






1. "The Resurrection of Jesus" by William Lane Craig.
Accessed 2/19/18.