Easter Devotional | 2024 - Day 8

Jesus Taken Down From the Cross

By Kevin Batista

“Now after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, requested of Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred litras weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” ~ John 19:38–40

I love having conversations with people who can sense they are nearing the end of this life and are excited about the one to come. You often hear them say phrases like “the good old days,” “back in my day,” “things were simpler then,” and the legendary “well…that was before your time.” Their ease and anticipation for the next life are oddly comforting to me. Especially when they have lived a life that honors God, their time is done, and they are ready for glory! 

When I was a kid, the thought of death was absolutely terrifying to me. Whether it was the thought of my own death or the thought of losing a loved one, my brain would melt down and refuse even to consider it. But the older I get, and the more I live in this world, the more comfortable I become with death.  

Christians are not exempt from the wide range of emotions regarding death. Some are terrified, but others have great anticipation. It’s fair to say that we may all have mixed emotions about it.  

As we walk with Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, we come to the point in the journey where we read about the conclusion of Jesus’ trial, torture, and crucifixion: His burial.  

A great reality for Christians is the good news that Christ has removed the sting of death through the gospel. Death seemed to be irreversible until Jesus Christ reversed it.

In 1 Corinthians 15:3, Paul defines the gospel of the grace of God in three points: (1) Christ died for our sins, (2) He was buried, and (3) He rose again on the third day. There is a lot of focus on Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, but let’s not overlook another part of the gospel, which is His burial. We should also not overlook the role that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus played. Let’s explore these two thoughts.  

What does Jesus’ death and burial accomplish as part of the journey? 

  • It fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that the Messiah would be assigned a grave with the wicked but buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9). Jesus was crucified between two criminals but was buried in the tomb of the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea.
  • It demonstrated Jesus’ true humanity. By being buried, Jesus underwent an ultimate human experience—physical death. His burial affirms His incarnation in bodily form, not just spiritual.
  • It ensured a verifiable death. Jesus’ burial for three days provided clear evidence that He physically died and did not just faint or go into a coma on the cross. His death was necessary for resurrection.
  • It set the stage for His resurrection victory over death. His emergence from the sealed tomb served as a powerful sign of His messianic authority over sin and death and proof of his divinity.
  • It picturized baptism as a symbol of being buried and raised with Christ (Romans 6:4–5). The burial and resurrection are linked to the hope and new life for believers.

What can we learn from Joseph & Nicodemus? 

Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy, prominent member of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council) who had become a disciple of Jesus. He boldly asked Pilate for Jesus’ body after His death on the cross, despite the danger of openly associating Himself with a condemned criminal. Pilate granted his request, and Joseph took Jesus’ body from the cross and wrapped it in a linen shroud according to Jewish burial customs. Joseph donated his new, unused tomb cut out of the rock to bury Jesus, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah would be buried in a rich man’s tomb.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and also a secret follower of Jesus who had visited Him at night early in His ministry. Nicodemus helped Joseph take Jesus’ body and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap with the linen cloths according to burial rites. Along with Joseph, he lovingly buried his Rabbi and Lord in the tomb before the Sabbath began at sundown.

For a long time, both men followed Jesus in secret. Never underestimate the faith of the quiet ones! Some people are slow to confess Jesus, but we should all do so. Don’t be obnoxious—be unashamed. 

The Bible teaches us that the wages of your sins and mine were satisfied by Jesus’ death. God’s wrath was satisfied. He was an acceptable and perfect Lamb. But He would not remain dead and buried. As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”  

Questions for Thought

  1. Do the people you interact with often know that you are a Christian? If so, why? If not, why not? 
  2. Have you really thought about what happens to you after death? Are you ready for what is next?

Daily Challenge

As believers, we are to be unashamed of our faith. Today, I challenge you to walk in a way that people can identify you as Christian. Show patience, spread joy, serve others with a compassionate heart, and never hesitate to share the goodness of God in your life!  

Author Bio

Kevin Batista

Minister to Single Adults & Missions

Kevin’s parents were church planters overseas, and from an early age, he saw the life-changing impact that the Church has worldwide. He believes that the Church can help people discover and use their unique gifts to impact eternity. Outside of work, Kevin loves hanging out with family & friends at the movies, games, or concerts. He is also a frustrated guitar player. He and his wife, Kim, have three great kids.

Author in Israel