Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part LXXXVII: Christ's Identity As God's Savior Seen In His Burial
(Luke 23:50-53)
  1. Introduction
    1. The acts of others after one dies often reveal facts about the deceased that he cannot humanly control.
    2. Remarkably, what other people did after Jesus had died on the cross argues powerfully that He is God's Messenger, and work to certify His claims to be the Messiah and Son of God.
    3. We thus view the reactions to Jesus' death by others in His burial with application for us (as follows):
  2. Christ's Identity As God's Savior Seen In His Burial, Luke 23:50-53.
    1. After Jesus died (Lk. 23:46), Joseph of Arimathaea asked Pilate for custody of His body, Luke 23:50-52.
    2. Who Joseph was and what he did in view of his station in life along with his "helper", Nicodemus (John 19:39) all in the context of their mutual roles on the sanhedrin give powerful evidence that Jesus is God's true Messenger, and that His claims of being the Messiah and Son of God are true (as follows):
      1. The word "counsellor" (KJV) means this Joseph was "a member of the Sanhedrin," the religious ruling body that had condemned Jesus to die, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Luke 23:50; 22:66-23:1.
      2. This Joseph was a "good and upright man" of the Jewish town of Arimathaea, one who was a reputable man of the Jews who Biblically anticipated the kingdom of God, Luke 23:50-51 NIV.
      3. However, he had not agreed to the decision of the sanhedrin majority to condemn Jesus, Luke 23:51, but was a "secret" disciple of Christ for fear of retaliation from the other Jewish leaders, John 19:38.
      4. Nevertheless, at the death of Christ, Joseph risked much to testify of His faith in Christ:
        1. Joseph risked his position in the national religious ruling body of Israel, being willing to risk excommunication as a Jew for publicly honoring Jesus in buying Him, cf. John 9:22.
        2. Joseph also risked his welfare and station in his Jewish city of Arimathaea, by "coming out" as a follower of Jesus in going to Pilate to request Jesus' body, Luke 23:52 with John 9:22.
      5. Gaining custody of Jesus' body, Joseph took it down, wrapped it in accord with Jewish burial custom and laid it in his own new rock hewn tomb of a rich man, Luke 23:52-53; Matt. 27:59-60; John 19:40.
      6. We also know from John 19:39 that Joseph was joined by another member of the sanhedrin named Nicodemus, a man who had confessed in John 3:1-2 that Jesus was from God. Thus, we have the credible, Biblical, high-risk witness of two reputable men as to the uprightness of Jesus, cf. John 8:17.
      7. Since in His trial before that same sanhedrin Jesus had testified that He was the Son of God (Luke 22:70-71) and clarified He was the promised Messiah (Luke 22:67-69 with Psalm 110:1), Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, two members of the sanhedrin, risked position, fame and possible fortune to bury the body of Jesus in honoring Him, thereby giving consent that He was a righteous man and hence sanctioning His claims made to the sanhedrin to be the Messiah and Son of God, cf. John 3:2.
      8. Incidentally, Joseph's burial of Jesus in his "rich man's" tomb fulfilled Isaiah 53:9 NIV where Messiah was predicted to be buried with the wealthy though He had not been sinful as were many of the rich.
      9. Since these events occurred after Jesus died when He had no human power to influence them, they indicate He had been innocent of the decision by the sanhedrin to condemn Him. Since Jesus was condemned for claiming before them to be Messiah and Son of God, a term meaning deity (John 5:18), the events surrounding the burial of Christ indicates He is the true, Biblical Messiah and God.
      10. Even more remarkable, Joseph and Nicodemus risked much to support a dead Messiah and Son of God, and that would have involved great faith, and possibly faith in His coming resurrection!
Lesson: As Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus risked position on the sanhedrin and excommunication by burying Jesus' body when until then they had been secret disciples for fear of the Jews reveals they believed He was the Messiah and Son of God! Such a risky witness coupled with the unusual fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9 on Jesus' burial with the rich indicates He is Messiah and God!

Application: (1) May we trust in Christ as Messiah and God to be saved, John 20:30-31. (2) May we rely on God to make our lives as effective as God made Jesus' life after He died. (3) May we as Jesus' disciples like Joseph and Nicodemus put devotion to Him above fame and fortune in this life!