April 7, 2023
John 19: 38-42
There are three points in John 19: 38-42 on which these thoughts might have been written, the two men who removed Jesus’ body to the tomb, and the condition and place of the tomb. I am certain that many sermons have been written on each and all of these points.
Joseph of Arimathea, was a wealthy Jew, who followed Jesus but never made his discipleship known for fear of reprisal from the Jews. Maybe now that Jesus was dead, it was safe to ask for his body and offer to bury him. Maybe this was something he could do now that any threat to the Jewish leaders seemed to be over. So, he asked for the body of Jesus to bury in his own tomb.
Nicodemas, the second man involved in the burial, was known to Jesus and had come to Jesus in darkness to question him. He also questioned Jesus during the trial before the crucifixion. He brought with him to the burial about one hundred pounds of a mixture of myrrh and aloe with which to anoint the body. This is a mixture used in embalming. Perhaps his role was to make certain that Jesus was really and truly dead. They wrapped the body in the spices with a linen cloths in preparation for burial and placed him in the tomb..
Now, the point that really strikes my heart, thanks to St. Athanaeus, is “…there was a garden in the place where [Jesus] was crucified, and in the garden there was a tomb in which no one had been laid….they laid Jesus there.” We lost our Garden of Eden relationship with God because of our sin, disobedience. Jesus died so that our sins might be forgiven and we could be restored to a new relationship with God as creator and we as redeemed sinners, with life everlasting. This is the final page of Jesus’ sacrifice before the resurrection. For we know, the next morning, the tomb in the garden was empty! Jesus was resurrected from the dead, affirming that everlasting life awaits us.
Is it not appropriate that what ended in a garden (the Garden of Eden) should be restored in a garden with the resurrection?