Insight to the Word

The Romans normally left the decaying bodies of crucified criminals, especially those convicted of treason, on their crosses for birds to devour as a warning that this same fate awaited those who dared to rebel against Rome. Because it was a “special Sabbath” in that it was also the day of Passover/Unleavened Bread, the Jewish leaders asked Pilate to have the crucified bodies taken down (John 19:31). Corpses left hanging overnight would desecrate the land (Deuteronomy 21:22–23). Family members weren’t permitted to give their deceased a decent burial. Instead, the bodies were unceremoniously and unbecomingly dumped in a graveyard outside the city. Corpses left unburied as food for carrion birds and wild animals was the severest form of contempt and humiliation (Psalm 79:2–4). Because Joseph of Arimathea intervened and asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, He was buried in Joseph’s “own new tomb” (Matthew 27:60), an unused rich man’s tomb, fulfilling Isaiah 53:9.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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