Summary: The burial of Jesus was a wonderful miracle wrought by God. Normally, victims of crucifixion were not buried. So how did Jesus escape the normal disposal of a crucified body? This sermon tells how God did it.


1. Easter has come and gone.

2. We have spent much time grieving over the cross and celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

3. Today, I’d like to tell you one more story about the resurrection.

4. If this part of the story of the resurrection had not happened, then the resurrection might not have occurred.

5. Today, let’s look at what happened after Jesus died and before He rose from the grave.

7. What I’m about to read is the account of what happened to the body of Jesus before He arose.

8. I have taken the four accounts of these events and combined them to form one cohesive reading.

Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-53; John 19:38-42

Now when evening had come, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs should be broken, and that they might be taken away. They did not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath. It was Preparation Day, which was a high Sabbath.There came a rich man named Joseph. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews. He was a prominent council member and had not consented to their decision and deed. He was a good and just man. Joseph had been waiting for the kingdom of God and became a disciple of Jesus. He was a disciple in secret, for fear of the Jews. Joseph took courage and went to Pilate and asked that he might take away the body of Jesus. Pilate marveled that He was already dead. He summoned a centurion and asked him if Jesus had been dead for some time. When Pilate found out from the centurion that Jesus was dead, he granted the body to be given to Joseph. Joseph took the body of Jesus down. Nicodemus also came bringing about a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes. Then they took the body of Jesus, bound it in strips of linen with the spices as the custom of the Jews is to bury.The body of Jesus was laid in a new tomb that Joseph had hewn out of the rock where no one had ever lain. So there they laid Jesus. They rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb and departed.

10. Now there are a few things going here, that were different from normal crucifixions.

11. First, the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of the three men on the crosses so they would not be able to hold themselves up and they would suffocate to death.

12. Why did the Jews asked Pilate to do that?

13. Some think it was because they didn’t want the bodies to there on the Sabbath.

14. The Jews had no problem with Roman crucifixions or the bodies of the crucified remaining on the Sabbath or any other day.

15. So why was it important to them that Jesus and the two robbers’ bodies be removed before this particular Sabbath?

16. The Bible tells us plainly that this day was the “Preparation Day,” which was a “high Sabbath.”

17. Each year, the Passover would be immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

18. The Passover was one day and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was seven days long.

19. The Jews observed seven different feasts.

20. These feasts were assigned by God to held at specific days during a month of the year.

21. For example, the Passover was to be held on the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish Calendar.

6. The Jewish calendar typically started in March or April.

7. And so the 14th day of the first month may have been any day of the week, not necessarily on the Sabbath.

8. Now when the Passover fell on a Sabbath, this was called

a “high Sabbath.” (Lev. 23:1-7)

9. This Sabbath was more important than others because it was the beginning of a feast.

10. And that’s what was happening here.

11. The Jewish Sabbath began on Friday at 6:00 pm, so something had to be done with these dead bodies because this was a special Sabbath day.

12. Now, we may be under the assumption that once a person was dead on the cross, that the family would take the body and bury it.

13. But that’s not what normally happened.

14. “The Romans often broke the prisoner's legs to hasten death and usually would not allow burial.” Wikipedia – Crucifixion

“Usually the body was left to rot on the cross and this was done as a deterrent to those who entered the city. Crucifixion was capital punishment and the sight of the crosses to those who came into the city was a grim reminder of the justice that awaited those who engaged in criminal activity.”; Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus

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