The Grace and Power of Jesus During the Most Unjust Execution in History, Part 3 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 322)
TEXT: John 19:38-42:
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 322.
John Walvoord said, “The burial of Jesus is part of the gospel. Its significance lies in the fact that it was the completion of Jesus’ suffering and humiliation. It also pointed up the reality of His death and set the stage for His coming bodily resurrection.”
The record of Jesus’ burial, though given briefly, is just as compelling, interesting, and multi-layered as His crucifixion and death. John, who was an eyewitness to these events, introduces us to a new character — Joseph of A-rim-a-thea. Arimathea was a city north of Jerusalem. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin — the Jewish religious council which had condemned Jesus to be crucified. He was a wealthy man who, it is believed, made his riches from trading metal. He was also a secret believer in Jesus Christ.
After the Roman soldiers had confirmed that Jesus was dead, Joseph went to Pilate and asked for permission to take the body of Jesus. The Romans were eager to get rid of the bodies of those they crucified, and if no one came forward to claim them, the bodies were left, exposed to the elements and to predatory birds and beasts. Pilate granted Joseph’s request for Jesus’ body. This is the last mention of Pilate in the Bible. No doubt, the events of this day stayed with him for the rest of his life. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that, after a violent conflict with the Samaritans, Pilate was recalled to Rome to give an account of his rule. He defended himself before the new Emperor Caligula, but Caligula dealt with him harshly and exiled him from the Empire. When a man was exiled, his family faced disgrace and loss of wealth. It was considered honorable for the guilty party to kill himself in order to prevent the family name from being shamed. And tradition has it that is what Pilate did. Two mountains in Europe are named for Pilate — one in France and one in Switzerland. It is believed that he fell to his death from one of them.
Contrast Pilate’s death with the death of our Lord. Pilate died in shame and disgrace, his body left rotting on the side of a mountain. Jesus, however, would have the burial of a rich man. After Joseph of A-rim-a-thea got permission from Pilate to take Jesus’ body, he got help from Nicodemus, another secret believer — the one who came to Jesus by night back in John chapter 3. Together, they “brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices.”
Both Joseph and Nicodemus were members of the religious establishment that had condemned Jesus to die. From a human perspective, they had remained secret believers in order to avoid conflict with their fellow Sanhedrin-members. During Jesus’ trial, one wonders why they did not speak up if they believed Jesus to be innocent. Dr. Warren Wiersbe provides an explanation: “After Nicodemus first visited Jesus, he searched the Scriptures and asked God for guidance concerning these important spiritual matters. It is likely that Joseph quietly joined him and revealed the fact that he too was more and more convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed Israel’s Messiah, the Son of God. As Nicodemus and Joseph searched the Old Testament, they would find the messianic prophecies and discover that many of them had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Certainly, they would see Him as the ‘Lamb of God’ and conclude that He would be sacrificed at Passover. Jesus had already told Nicodemus that He would be ‘lifted up’, and this meant crucifixion. Since the Passover lambs were slain about 3 p.m., the two men could know almost the exact time when God’s Lamb would die on the cross.”
What he is saying is that Joseph and Nicodemus — having studied the Scriptures — would have realized that God’s plan was, in fact, for Jesus to die. When they saw the pieces falling into place for this to happen right before the Passover, they remained silent. In the meantime, they began preparing to take charge of Jesus’ body. This would explain why Joseph’s tomb was “new”, why the two men had the traditional (and very expensive) burial spices on hand, and why the tomb was so close to the place of crucifixion. It is likely that these two men were not just accidental participants, rather, they were positioned by God to take care of His Son’s body after the crucifixion because by the grace of God, at this point, these men were convinced to believe that Jesus was the Messiah – the lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.
Joseph and Nicodemus could have been like the other Jewish religious leaders — cold-hearted, hateful, and envious — letting their desire for control lead them to reject the Messiah. Instead, they were open to God working in their lives. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, Joseph and Nicodemus came to believe that Jesus was who He said He was — and they provided a prophecy-fulfilling burial for our Lord and Savior.
James George Deck wrote:
Around Thy grave, Lord Jesus,
In spirit here we stand,
With hearts all full of praises,
To keep Thy blest command:
Our souls by faith rejoicing,
To trace Thy path of love,
Down through death’s angry billows,
Up to the throne above.
Lord Jesus! we remember
The travail of Thy soul,
When through Thy love’s deep pity,
The waves did over Thee roll;
Baptized in death’s dark waters,
For us Thy blood was shed;
For us Thou, Lord of Glory,
Were numbered with the dead.
Jesus was numbered with the dead temporarily so that you would not have to be numbered with the dead forever. His death on the cross and His resurrection provides salvation from sin and a home in Heaven for all those who believe in Him like Joseph and Nicodemus did. Here is how you can be free from sin and the punishment of sin today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.