Why is the burial narration so important in the life of Jesus? It proves that Jesus was buried by not one but two influential, respected men who could testify to His death.
His death could also be verified by the Galilean women who prepared Jesus' body for burial since they were well-known and trusted by the disciples of Jesus. These witnesses would be important so that the first Christians could not be accused of concocting the story of the Resurrection.
Who were these important men who buried Jesus?
First we have Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a rich, influential man, a member of the Sanhedrin. He is described as ‘looking for the Kingdom of God’, and perhaps believed he had found it in Jesus. Mark's gospel says Joseph had to 'gather up his courage' to ask for Jesus' body. It was risky for him to defend or protect Jesus as it could have serious consequences in his social, religious and political life.
|Entombment of Christ- Fernando Botero (Columbia)|
"Now there was a man named Joseph . He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid; then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment." Luke 23:50-56
Nicodemus brought spices for the burial, powdered myrrh and aloes, about 70lbs in modern weight, a very costly amount. There is no explanation as to why he gave so much. But John tells us Nicodemus came to hear Jesus under cover of darkness, as if he were afraid; perhaps he was now trying to make up for this fearfulness. So two men, who as far as we know have not been with Jesus in His three years of ministry, were the ones to come through at the end. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose but they stepped forward and arranged the burial.
|Gwyneth Leech- NY|
"Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there." John 19:39-42