John 19:38-42

Talks for Growing Christians

The Burial of the Lord's Body

John 19:38-42

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Lesson Number 84

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God counts secret belief for salvation.
  2. God insured an honorable burial for His Son.

Practical Application

  1. Remember that difficult circumstances will reveal your true character.


  1. In which of the gospels is Joseph of Arimathea mentioned? What do we learn about him?
  2. In which of the gospels is Nicodemus mentioned?
  3. Why did Nicodemus bring such a large amount of myrrh and aloes for Jesus’ burial?
  4. Why were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus secret believers?
  5. Were they the only secret believers among the Jewish religious leaders?
  6. Are secret believers saved?
  7. How did God insure an honorable burial for His Son?


  1. In all four gospels. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, he was a wealthy man, and at first he was a secret believer.
  2. Only in John’s gospel.
  3. Large amounts were used in royal burials, and large amounts of spices would have prevented our Lord’s severely injured body from undergoing decay. It was a fulfillment of prophecy. See Psalm 16:10.
  4. For fear of the Jews, both for physical safety and the fear of being ostracized from the religious community because of their association with Jesus.
  5. No. See John 12:42-43.
  6. God counts secret belief for salvation.
  7. Once the work of redemption was complete, not a single defiled hand touched the body of our Lord. He was handled with loving care and buried as a king.


  1. Secret believers love the praise of men rather than the praise of God. Sometimes, secret believers are afraid to show their faith because of fear of losing their job, or of being mocked by co-workers, or of being ridiculed by classmates, friends and family. Have you ever found yourself in this position?
  2. Looking back, how would (should) you have responded?


  1. Remember that difficult circumstances will reveal your true character. This is what happened to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. They could not sit idly by when such injustice was taking place. If you find yourself in such a circumstance, be thankful… and stand and be counted for Christ.

Key Verses

  • “Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.” John 19:38
  • “Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices.” John 19:40
  • “Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus.” John 19:41-42

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