Mark 15:42-47 Jesus Death And Burial Is Confirmed.
The Preparation Day was the day before the Sabbath, and it ended at sunset. Joseph would have to make the arrangements for Jesus body in the dying hours of the day (v. 42 Cf. Jn. 19:38-42). He is described as “a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God” (v. 43a). Luke also describes him as being “a good and just man,” who had not consented to the decision and deed of the council, to have Jesus crucified (23:51). It is interesting that Mark and Luke used these descriptives, because John also described him as being “a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews” (v. 38). But here he was, a Jew himself, and John notes that he was also joined by another Jew and Pharisee no less, Nicodemus, who also came to Jesus secretly “by night” (19:39a), to whom Jesus had previously preached that he must be born again (Jn. 3:1ff). Nicodemus already had some courage to come to Jesus’ defence when he was falsely accused earlier by the council (Jn. 7:51). At the time of Jesus burial, Nicodemus now assists Joseph and brings with him “a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury” (Jn. 19:39b-40). However, before they are permitted to take the body, Mark records that they needed to get permission from Pilate (v. 43b). “Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time” (vv. 44-45a). Apparently the centurion answered in the affirmative, because only then were they allowed to take Jesus’ body (v. 45b). Then Joseph, with Nicodemus, two Jews and members of the council, took Jesus down, wrapped him in the fine linen, and laid him “in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb” (v. 46). “And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid” (v. 47). Matthew indicates that the tomb was Joseph’s (Mt. 27:59-60), with John indicating how it was new, wherein no one ever was laid, and within a garden in the vicinity of Golgotha, so that they had the time to complete their task (19:41-42).
From all the gospel accounts we have a very interesting picture of what took place at Jesus’ death. Firstly, Jesus yielded up his spirit, suggesting that it was ultimately his choice of when to die (Mt. 27:50; Mk. 15:37). Secondly, this only happened when he said “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30). Thirdly, not wanting to have dead bodies on the crosses on the Sabbath, “the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken” (Jn. 19:31). However, the soldiers did not break Jesus’ legs because they confirmed that he was already dead (v. 33), but they did pierce his side (v. 34). They thus not only confirmed Jesus was dead, but in these acts they also fulfilled the scriptures (vv. 36-37; Ex. 12:46; Nu. 9:12; Ps. 34:20; Zech. 12:10; 13:6). Fourthly, we then read that the veil guarding the holy of holies “was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mk. 15:38; Mt. 27:51a Cf. Ex. 26:31-33). Fifthly, Matthew records that the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (27:51b-53).
Therefore, even before the resurrection of Jesus, the resurrection of these saints was witnessed to by many, as they entered the holy city on the Preparation Day. Sixth, we have a confession from the centurion who said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54; Mk. 15:39). Seventh, before they could take down Jesus body, Pilate himself needed confirmation that he was dead, which he got from the centurion (Mk. 15:44-45). Eighth, Joseph and Nicodemus rolled a stone in front of the door of the tomb, which Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses witnessed (Mt. 27:60-61; Mk. 15:46-47; Lk. 23:55). Ninth, on the next day, that is the Sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees asked to have the tomb secured, lest his disciples should deceive people into thinking he had in fact risen. (Mt. 27:62-64). Pilate then gave them permission to make it as secure as they desired, which they did with a seal and a guard (vv. 65-66). All of this demonstrates how, over and over again, Jesus death and burial were confirmed by so many – friend, foe, and the public. There is perhaps no death and burial that has received as much confirmation as his.