Mark 15:42-47

Mark 15:42 (KJB)
And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

It was now 3 PM which according to Jewish custom was the first evening (second being 6 PM). Scripture forbade for the body to be kept on the tree over night and must be taken down before sundown. They did not have much time since the evening before the Sabbath was quickly approaching and it was the time for preparation of the Sabbath.

Mark 15:43 (KJB)
Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

Craved - Requested

Then Joseph of Arimathaea, being a just man and a follower of Jesus knew that it was against the law for a body to hang on a tree overnight. (Deu 21:22-23 KJV) And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: {23} His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. Since Joseph was a man of means, he wanted to give Jesus a proper burial. They would not have much time to prepare the body with the spices because the sabbath was now approaching. (John 19:39-40 KJV) 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. Joseph had a tomb in Jerusalem which meant that he probably moved there and wanted to be buried there.

Joseph then went to Pilate and asked if he could have the body of Jesus. I am sure he told Pilate about their law of not allowing a dead body to remain on a cross or tree overnight. He wanted to take the body of Jesus and properly bury Him. Then Pilate gave permission for Joseph to take the body of Jesus. After all, what trouble could Jesus now cause since He was dead. The Roman custom was to let the body of the dead prisoner hang on the tree until it rotted away. Sometimes from the time of Augustus, the family was allowed to take the body. Joseph had risked his position on the Sanhedrin because he was now showing himself to be on the side of Jesus which meant he would be an enemy of the Sanhedrin.

Mark 15:44 (KJB)
And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.

Pilate did not express any surprise at the request nor did He hesitate in granting the request. What he marvelled about was the fact that Jesus had died so fast since sometimes crucified victims would take days to die. So to make sure that Jesus was truly dead, he called to the centurion in charge of the crucifixion to confirm that Jesus was indeed dead. The death of Jesus was not an execution of a regular man but was under divine control. At the precise, predetermined moment, Jesus had released His spirit unto the Father.

Mark 15:45 (KJB)
And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Once Pilate was convinced that Jesus was truly dead and that it was not a plan to free Jesus from death, Pilate gave the body to Joseph for burial. Pilate was no doubt still troubled about the whole situation with Jesus. Pilate probably showed more remorse for the death of Jesus than the religious leaders who orchestrated this murder.

Mark 15:46 (KJB)
And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

Then the soldiers probably had taken the body of Jesus off the cross and gave it to Joseph who then began to prepare the body for burial. The body was wrapped in an unused clean linen cloth. It was not the complete ritual to bury a body according to Jewish custom because the time was close to the sabbath. This is why they went back on Sunday morning to complete the anointing of the body but by then Jesus was resurrected.

The tomb which Joseph had hewn out for himself was a plain tomb hewn out of rock. There were many of those around Jerusalem. The burial chamber would have been cut horizontally in the tomb. Then once the body was laid in the tomb, a large heavy rock was rolled in front of the entrance. It probably looked like a large millstone. Since Jesus had been condemned as a criminal, it was not lawful for the owner of the tomb to use it again. In other words, no other bodies could be laid in that tomb even if it was a family crypt. Then once the large stone was rolled in front of the door, they departed. (Num 19:11-13 KJV) He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. {12} He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. {13} Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. Those who helped place Jesus in the tomb and wrapped his body would have been disallowed under the law from partaking of the Passover and feast of unleavened bread because they would have been considered unclean for seven days. There was to be a purification ceremony or else they would remain in a state of ceremonial uncleanness.

Mark 15:47 (KJB)
And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the wife of Cleopas was sitting opposite of the grave and had seen how Joseph had prepared the body of Jesus for burial. They not only witnessed His death but they also witnessed His burial and knew the location of the tomb. This is important because when Sunday came around they went to the right tomb where Jesus was laid and no one could accuse them of going to the wrong tomb. (Luke 23:55 KJV) And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.  They even paid close attention as to how the body was placed in the tomb. Basically, they knew all the details of the location and the burial.

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