Mark 15:42-47 The Burial of Jesus

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

The Burial of Jesus

Joseph of Arimathea baffles me.  Why would s leader who was a member of the council bury Jesus?  It’s not that he couldn’t be a believer, but why didn’t he speak up?  Perhaps he did, but his voice was buried at the trial.  Perhaps he didn’t speak up because of fear, but now he repents and his commitment to the dead Jesus is going to make up for his lack of commitment to the live one.  I tend to think that, being a kangaroo court, certain members like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were intentionally left out.  It did take great courage to approach the Roman leader and as for the body of one who had been killed for sedition.  Joseph’s commitment to the Kingdom of God was genuine.

his passage seems to have been included to counter revivalist theories.  Maybe Joseph of Arimathea stole the body of a swooning Jesus and then, after Jesus was revived, Jesus walked among the witnesses who subsequently saw him.  Also, Mark guards against another fallacy, that the women went to the wrong tomb.  The tomb that they visit, which is empty, must be that of Jesus.  They saw him laid there.


We believe you were buried.  We believe that you were dead.  In joining you in your death, we renounce the sin that you carried.  We declare ourselves dead to it and that we will embrace it no more.


  1. Who takes Jesus’ body for burial?
  2. What do you think motivated him?
  3. Why are the women included at the end of the burial narrative?
  4. Do you believe Jesus was dead?
  5. What is the significance of Jesus’ death as opposed to his new life?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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4 Responses to Mark 15:42-47 The Burial of Jesus

  1. Christina Zezulak says:

    Joseph of Arimathea takes Jesus’ body for burial. We know that he was waiting for the kingdom of God, so his motivation was probably to give Jesus the best kind of burial to honor him. The women were included because later they will be the ones that see the empty tomb – which proves that they know which tomb was Jesus’. Yes, Jesus was dead. We know this because the Bible plainly tells us this fact more than once. There is much significance to Jesus’ death. His death confirms that the He paid the price for our sin. It is finished! His new life is the promise we receive when we die to our sin – new life in Christ.

  2. kevin w. says:

    Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Sanhedrin took the body of Jesus and buried him. Given the boldness which this took and that it would not look good in the eyes of those who condemned Jesus, I think Joseph did this because he loved Jesus. Maybe he believed that he was the messiah as the disciples did.
    Women were not considered reliable witnesses in the first century, especially among Jews. Including the details that the women definitely knew which tomb Jesus was buried in helped establish their reliability.
    I believe that Jesus was dead (His body anyway). There was no swoon as some of the Muslims have suggested. Medically, it would have been impossible for anyone to have survived what Jesus went through. One of the other accounts relays the fact that blood and water both came out of Jesus’ side upon being stabbed by the Roman spear. This indicates that fluid had filled Jesus’ lungs by this point and he had asphyxiated. Besides this, the Bible is clear that Jesus actually died. This is also tied to very important theological and soteriological issues. If Jesus did not die, then our sins were not actually paid for (Romans 3:23). The fore shadowing of Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross throughout the Old Testament would be wrong (the Passover lamb; sacrifice on the day of atonement). New life would not take place because we would still be in bondage to sin, our spirits dead to God, our guilt deserving of judgment still before God’s eyes.

  3. 33324bg says:

    It’s difficult to conceive that a perfectly righteous God would let a prophet of His die, let alone His Son, let alone the fact that a perfectly righteous God would plan the death of His Son and pour out His wrath on Him! We should not scoff at Muslims, or any other person who has a hard time fathoming all that took place at the cross. Truly, we cannot and will not ever fully fathom all that transpired and we’ll never know it as Jesus knew it, even though in a very real and definite sense His death was our death to sin, the world, the law. God was not unrighteous in punishing His prophet, His Son with wrath and judgment. In fact, God was being righteous in doing so, and so was the Son! We’ll have to be gentle and patient as we explain with people the gospel. Let us not be so familiar with the gospel that we deceive ourselves into thinking we know it, when we could always know it better. I think this should boggle our minds- GOD was buried- and it was the plan of God! God went through death- all the way- for us. He fully identified with His suffering creation. What a Savior, fully carrying out His mission!

  4. Eric Wildermuth says:

    Joseph of Arimatea takes Jesus body and buries it in the tomb for his family that no one had yet used (This shows that no other bodies would have been in there at any point). I think that he wanted to honor Christ, either to make up for his lack of power in the situation, or because he truly believed Jesus and wanted to do what he could to honor Him. The women are included to set up them seeing Jesus alive again first, and perhaps also to show that God certainly does value women, even if the culture then–even now?–does not value them as highly as it should? Yes, I do believe that Jesus died and was buried–completely dead, not just in a coma.
    Jesus’ death 1) shows his great love for his own (laying down His life for his friends, dying for us while we were sinners) 2) In death, He buried Death in his grave and rising, sealed Death in the grave, assuring life to all who believe and removing their sins from them.

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