Luke 23:50-56 - The burial of Jesus
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they 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.
In verse fifty we find that Jesus’ body has hung dead on the Roman crucifix, having died on Wednesday afternoon, at three o’clock P.M. It is now Friday, the seventh day of the Passover festival, which began on a Sabbath and will end on the following Sabbath. Friday is called the ‘day of preparation’ because all meals and work that would normally be done in one day cannot be done on a Sabbath; so, preparations for the normal work for a Sabbath must be done on the day before (Friday – the sixth day of the week). This should be seen as it being known that Jesus is dead, while the other two criminals are still somewhat alive. Because crucifixion is a death sentence that is known to take days to reach the final objective of death, no bodies can be allowed to be taken down prior to death, lest they recover and need to be crucified a second time. Knowing Jesus was dead then led a gathering of those who followed Jesus, demanding that his body not be a disgrace before Yahweh by hanging dead on a cross on the Sabbath. Knowing he had died on Wednesday (at the beginning of the ‘evening of day’ hour), his family and followers sought ‘inside’ help in getting his body down off the cross and interred before six P.M. on Friday, when the Sabbath officially began. Verse fifty then begins this final segment of the Passion story, beginning with a capitalized “Kai,” showing this verse has most important information, while also marking this as the beginning of a transitional section in the storyline.
The whole of this verse can then literally be shown to state, “Kai behold! , man to name Joseph , a council member [of the Sanhedrin] , possessing [kai] husband good kai righteous ,” The great importance indicator word – “Kai” – leads to a one-word statement that says, “behold!” This forces one to look closely at what Luke followed this word with, in his writing in this verse. Following are two uses of the word “anēr,” which means “a man,” but also implies: “a male human being; a man, husband.” Because Luke placed great importance on the need for “looking” closely at that written, all possibilities of translation for “anēr” must be known. We are then told “a man’s name,” which is “Joseph.” That is a capitalized word that means, “Increaser, May He Add.” “Joseph” is identified as one of the Temple elite, as a “council member.” That says we are told to look at one with clout, as far as influence in matters pertaining to Jerusalem and the Temple. After we know this basic information, what follows is quite amazing, and needs to be closely inspected.
The NRSV takes the words written and paraphrases them to say “Joseph was a good and righteous man.” The point of Yahweh sending His Son to minister to Jews was there were no “good and righteous men” around, especially those of Herod’s Temple. When the young, rich ruler (I identify him as Nicodemus) came to Jesus, calling Jesus “good Teacher,” Jesus told him “only God is good.” That needs to be remembered in this identification of this man whose name means “May He Add.” The word “hyparchōn” follows a comma mark, leading to the word “kai” appearing within brackets. The first bracket mark sets this word off as another one-word statement, which says: “to begin, to be ready or at hand, to be,” implying “I begin, am, exist, am in possession.” Written in the Present Participle, the word states a significant “beginning,” or an important change “existing” in a man named as an “Increaser.” This must then be carefully seen to mean a state of “possession” has taken over Joseph, such that this relates to what happened at the cross to onlookers, when their souls became “possessed” divinely by the soul of Jesus, sent back home with new “beginnings” at hand. This then leads to the important factor of this “possessing” entity, where that importance is completely unseen by others. The brackets then indicate an inner state of “possession,” which is divine. Following this bracketed “kai” is then the second use of “anēr,” where the translation now needs to be read as “husband.” This says the soul of Joseph became married to Yahweh, which made Joseph be “Increased” by Yahweh’s Spirit, while also fully submitting to that presence, as a wife soul in human flesh. This makes Yahweh be the “husband,” who then affords Joseph the right to be deemed “good.” That is then followed by a non-bracketed “kai,” leading to the change that has overtaken Joseph, where he is has now become “righteous,” with that impossible without the soul of Jesus leading his soul.
In verse fifty-one, Luke explained more about the connection of Joseph to Jesus and his readiness to become an Apostle. In the whole of this verse, one can see Luke literally saying, “therefore not he existed having agreed with to this counsel kai to this business of themselves , away from Arimathea , city of this of Judea , that they expected this kingdom of this of God .” In this, the NRSV translates these words to says Joseph “had not agreed to their plan and action” and that “He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.” That ignores the fact that one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. It demands one realize the truth of the capitalized ‘name’ “Arimathea.”
There is no known place identified as “Arimathea.” There is conjecture of places that this ‘name’ could refer to, but the uniform consensus says this place did not exist as that name. John calls “Joseph this away from Harimathaias,” which becomes a Semitic word that means “the Heights,” which is descriptive, not a name. The word “Harimathaias” is also written by Luke, so this becomes a statement of “Superiority” that Joseph “not he existed having agreed with to this counsel.” In that, “boulē” is not a direct reference to a “council,” but a statement of “counsel, deliberate wisdom, decree,” which came from the Sanhedrin collectively. When “Arimathea” is read as “Superiority,” then the importance of Joseph not agreeing “to this business of themselves” (where the use of “praxei” means “function, business,” rather than “deed” or “mode of action”) is then stated as because he was “away from Superiority” as an attitude to hold. This means “the city of this” attitude, being “of Judea,” was Jerusalem. It was there that the priests of Herod’s Temple preached “Superiority” to Jews, so they would all pay for the right to “expect this kingdom of this of God,” which was a birthright to divine “Superiority” in the world; but it was more important to maintain that belief, so the Jews could resurrect Judea as Judah, with themselves being the new royalty of that recreation. This verse explains why Joseph had become “righteous,” as he did not agree with heaven being an inheritance, without doing anything righteous to merit that reward.
In verse fifty-two, Luke then tells the simplicity of what act Joseph did, after having married his soul to Yahweh. He acted on His Son’s behalf. Here, the whole verse simply says (literally): “here having come this to Pilate , he petitioned this body of this of Jesus .” Here is where it must be realized that Pilate expected Jesus to die quickly, once crucified. Luke paints the picture of Pilate wanting to free Jesus, but only after the Jews of Jerusalem threatened him with insurrection (which Pilate knew Rome would take his assignment away from him, should that happen) that he gave in to their demands. However, Pilate then ordered Jesus flogged, with the intent to place him so near death that a cross would mean no lasting fun for those “Superior Jews” shouting insults at a man being tortured to death (unjustly). Herod Antipas had berobed Jesus as the “King of the Jews” and forced those Temple leaders to walk with their ‘new king’ back to Pilate. Pilate placed a sign over Jesus’ head, stating (in three languages) that Jesus was the “KING OF THE JEWS.” So, Pilate was glad Jesus died quickly; and, he would have been receptive to allowing his dead body to be taken down, while leaving the true criminals (still barely alive) on crosses on a Sabbath. Because Joseph was now a wife of Yahweh, he was led as a “good kai righteous” Spirit to “petition Pilate” for the “body of Jesus.”
Verse fifty-three shows that Pilate allowed the request to be approved; although we learn from the other Gospels that proof of death had to be done first, so Pilate would not be showing favor by allowing a still alive Jesus down from his punishment. This would be the spear into his side, which proved what the followers of Jesus already knew: Jesus was dead. This is denoted by the first word being “kai,” leading to the one-word statement (“kathelōn”) that says, “having taken down.” The whole of this verse can then literally be saying, “kai having taken down , he wrapped himself to fine linen cloth kai he placed himself within tomb hewn out of rock , which not within no one not yet been placed .” In the NRSV translation above is written: “he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb.” In each of the places where the most divine (even in death) body of Jesus is called “it,” that denies the truth of the words written: “auto” and “auton.” While “it” is a third-person singular option, which would aptly fit a worthless dead carcass of an ordinary human being, the body of Jesus must be given the reverence his body still deserves (even in death), as it was formed in Mary’s womb by the hand of Yahweh and developed by those hands all the way up to this event of death; and, from knowing the whole story, that body would rise, walk, teach, and the ascend in whole body. Therefore, “it” must be referred to as “himself,” realizing that the soul of Jesus (“himself”) was completely separate from his body of flesh (“himself”), waiting for three full days to pass, so on the Sabbath his soul (“himself”) could return to his body of flesh (“himself”).
Much has been made of a golden chalice that Jesus was to have drunk from on his last Seder (when he did not drink any wine that night), when the cups served each participant were individually poured cups of wine, poured into cups owned by the one who allowed Jesus to use his upper room. Unless they had paper cups, which the disciples who prepared that room bought and left there for the cups of wine, there would have been no reason for anyone to take a chalice owned by the owner of the upper room; and, then go about saying, “Jesus drank here!” That would be theft, if not presented by the owner; and, it would be lying, since Jesus drank from no cup there.
Since there was no allowance for theft or lying in those who were “righteously” reborn as Jesus, one can see how the “fine linen cloth” in which Jesus’ body was “wrapped” was not his to take with him, when he was risen. He then folded it nicely and left it in Joseph’s tomb, for Joseph to have and reuse. That can be seen as the evidence supporting a “shroud” that Jesus was “wrapped” in. Because the tomb had been “hewn out of rock” to be used by Joseph and “no one not yet placed,” it is important to realize that the tomb had absolutely zero stench of death within it. In the story told by John, Nicodemus brought a very large quantity of perfumes, in which to cover Jesus’ body with, so the tomb would not stink of prior death when it came time for Joseph to be buried there. Because there was no mention in any Gospel of the stench of death (like Mary said of Lazarus, when he was entombed), then Jesus’ body did not decay one iota [look up how many bodies of saints have been examined many years after death and they look like they are asleep, smelling of roses]. Therefore, an “it” would decay and stink; but Jesus “himself” did not; and, Yahweh made sure Joseph still had a tomb that “not within no one not yet been placed.”
Verse fifty-four then states the importance of the timing of Jesus’ entombment, where the stone was rolled into place just before six o’clock in the evening, when the Jewish night reflects the change from Friday to the Sabbath day. Here, the whole of this verse can be seen literally saying, “kai day within of Preparation , kai seventh day it was near commencing .” In this, the capitalization of “Paraskeuēs” does not denote a proper name for Friday. The “day of preparation” is not a divinely elevated name that demands reverence. The capitalization of the word stating “Preparation” says Jesus’ body had been “Prepared” to return to Yahweh. The tomb of Joseph was then a never been used before altar of sacrifice, in which was laid the body of the Sacrificial Lamb. Thus, the importance that follows belittles the “seventh day” by not being capitalized. This says the tomb was sealed while it was still Friday, so everyone could return home in time for the Sabbath actually beginning.
Verse fifty-five then begins with the capitalized word “Katakolouthēsasai,” which divinely elevates this means from simple “following” to those who were filled with the soul of Jesus, “They Having Followed” as he told them to do. This is not walking a path or road anywhere, but being Jesus reborn, “They having followed” him as ministers for Yahweh on earth. The rest of this verse can then be found literally saying, “They having Followed now , those women whosoever they existed they assembled from out of this of Galilee to himself , they looked upon this tomb kai when he was laid this body of himself .” In understanding the deeper meaning that is contained in this verse, it is important to see how twice in this chapter Luke has pointed out “women” specifically, after Jesus died (in verse forty-nine and now again in verse fifty-five). This needs further explanation.
The element of “women” is they are the bridesmaids to bridegrooms – the wives to husbands – and in the physical realm (in ancient times when Big Brains did not attempt to falsify everything as being equal) a “woman” is naturally subservient to a “husband” (as seen in Joseph having Yahweh as his “husband” – “anēr”). All souls in flesh are to be the “women” of Yahweh in divine marriage. Thus, male humans fear subservience and marriage, because that would strip them of some pseudo-importance, as god-like creatures on earth. When Jesus was arrested the “men” (“andres”) ran and hid. The ‘women” maintained their role as dutiful servants. Thus, all human beings (souls in flesh) are to deem themselves bridesmaids of Yahweh, as His “women.” The strongest, most powerful man on earth is nothing compared to Yahweh. Therefore, to find Salvation, one must assume a “woman’s” attitude of subservience and submission.
When this aspect is realized, one see that “women” are more inclined to act on instinct, as servants, without any self-ego keeping them from being afraid to show that submissive side of themselves. They dutifully went to the tomb of Joseph, watched where the body of Jesus was laid, because their service to Jesus was not terminated in death. This is a vital lesson that all who seek salvation must learn.
The final verse in this chapter of Luke shows how the women of Jesus still had work to do, in preparation for his removal from Joseph’s tomb, to be placed in the family tomb that would have been in Nazareth, in Galilee. It makes sense that the plan would be to move his body to Bethany, to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid; but because Luke says the women “assembled from out of this of Galilee to himself” (while ignoring Mary and Martha of Bethany and Mary of Emmaus) implies a plan to anoint his body for a two-day journey to Galilee for final burial. This clearly says the tomb of Joseph was a ‘loaner,’ only to be used for the Sabbath. The women then went to see where the tomb was, so they could then go and prepare the oils and spices needed to embalm the body for transfer. There would have been enough time still left in Friday for that work to be done.
The whole of verse fifty-six then says literally, “they having returned now , they made ready spices kai anointing oils . Kai this truly seventh day they rested from work according to this commandment .” In this, the importance of “anointing oils” says the body of Jesus was planned to be an “anointed one” in death. We know that Mary Magdalene had purchased nard, which she had anointed the feet of Jesus with just less than two weeks prior. Since we are not told where the women were – “having returned” being non-specific – it makes sense to see that Joseph had an estate reasonably close to the tomb, with a campsite or housing accommodations on the grounds there, making it so the women would not have to go further than necessary, knowing Jesus’ body would be moved on Sunday (the first day of the week). Additionally, the Sabbath would be the last official day of the Passover festival; so, there would be many pilgrims traveling away from Jerusalem early Sunday morning. To avoid the clog and congestion on the roads, being close to the tomb (and getting an early start) would make the body transfer go more smoothly. Still, no work was done once six o’clock P.M. rolled around. All “Preparations” had been made in compliance to the Law.