Matthew 27:57-66

57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.

58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.

59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,

63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’

64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.”

66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

rich man (v.57) — in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9

Arimathaea (v.57) — about 25 miles away from Jerusalem in the hill country of Ephraim

The account given in all four gospels (Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42) indicates that Joseph of Arimathaea was a wealthy and influential man, a member of the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:51), and one who had been secretly a disciple of Jesus (John 19:38). He went boldly into Pilate, although this involved ceremonial defilement for a Jew during the feast, and requested the body of Jesus. — Walvoord, page 236.

The word translated “secretly” could be rendered “secreted,” or hidden away … Christ made preparations for all events associated with His death so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. This word may indicate that Jesus had arranged with Joseph to make arrangements for His burial to fulfill and Old Testament prophecy. By way of preparation, Joseph had obtained space in a garden adjacent to the place of crucifixion; there was a new tomb there. He had arranged with a fellow counselor, Nicodemus, to provide the spices necessary for a proper burial (John 19:39). Joseph had provided the linen cloth in which to wrap the body of Jesus (Mark 15:46). Thus before the crucifixion all that was needed for burial had been provided. It may well be that Joseph had hidden himself away in the recesses of the garden where he could witness the events transpiring on Golgotha without being observed. At the moment Christ cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and dismissed His spirit from His body, Joseph was ready to proceed with the burial. Haste was now required because it was late afternoon and the setting of the sun would bring the Sabbath. — Pentecost, page 491.

The sepulchre was probably a small chamber, along one side of which was a shelf cut in the rock, and on this shelf the body was laid. The “great stone” was no doubt ready for use. It was these stones, forming the doors to tombs, that were whitewashed every spring to prevent passers-by from being made ceremonially unclean. The stones were sometimes round and flat, like millstones, laying upright against the face of the rock in which the excavation was made. They could then be easily rolled backwards and forwards, to open or close the aperture.

As they went out, they rolled a great stone — the Golel — to close the entrance to the tomb, probably leaning against it for support a smaller stone — the so-called Dopheq. It would be where the one stone was laid against the other, that on the next day, Sabbath though it was, the Jewish authorities would have affixed the seal, so that the slightest disturbance might become apparent. — Pentecost, page 492

other Mary (v.61) — “the mother of James and Joses” from v. 56

While none of the disciples seem to have found any comfort in Christ’s predictions that He would rise again, yet the chief priests and the Pharisees understood and remembered, and were determined that no apparent fulfillment of such predictions should be accomplished by the disciples.

“Now on the morrow, which is after the Preparation.” The Preparation had already became a name for Friday as the eve of the sabbath. Matthew uses it without explanation, but Mark (15:42) tells his readers what it means. It looks as if Matthew employed this circumlocution in order to avoid using the word “sabbath.” did he shrink from saying in so many words that this miserable act of hostility, on the part of the Jewish hierarchy against the Messiah, took place on the sabbath? Months before this the Pharisees had been moved to take counsel to destroy Him, because He had done good on the sabbath (12:12-14); and now they do not scruple to do evil on the sabbath.

The deputation address the Procurator with respect: “Sir, it came to our minds (v.63).” And they speak of Him whom they have forced the Procurator to crucify with contemptuous abhorrence. They will not even name Him; they use a pronoun which indicates that He is far removed from them, and a substantive which stigmatizes Him as a seducer of the people: “that deceiver” (compare John 9:28; 2 John 7:1). They quote His words in a manner which suggests the confidence with which they were spoken: “After three days I rise again.” although the words recorded were spoken in private to the disciples, yet they may have been repeated until they reached the ears of His watchful enemies. The Pharisees, having suggested that the Body might be stolen, put into the mouth of the disciples the very expression which Herod Antipas is said to have used of Jesus: that He was the Baptist, who “is risen from the dead” (Matthew 14:2). “The last error” means “the last deceit” or “the last seduction,” with direct reference to “that deceiver” or “seducer.” The Pharisees knew that they  must use political considerations in order to influence Pilate. Just as they had charged Jesus with claiming to be King of the Jews, while they said nothing about His claiming to be the Son of God, so here they mean that, if the disciples persuaded people that Jesus had risen from the dead, they might cause a far more serious rising than had occurred at the triumphal entry in consequence of the persuasion that Jesus was the Messiah.

That Pilate’s words mean “take a guard,” rather than “Ye have a guard,” seems clear from the fact that the only guard which they had was the Temple-police, and this they could have employed without coming to the Procurator. Evidently they want something which required his permission; and it is Roman soldiers who are set to guard the tomb (28:12-15). — Pentecost, pages 493-494.

This entry was posted in Matthew. Bookmark the permalink.