Mark 15:42-47

Talks for Growing Christians

The Burial of the Lord in the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea

Mark 15:42-47

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Lesson Number 68

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The fact of Christ's death and burial is more important than the location of the tomb or the authenticity of the shroud.

Practical Application

  1. Are you willing to risk your reputation for the sake of Christ?


  1. According to Jewish reckoning, when was the evening?
  2. Why was Friday called the preparation day?
  3. What was the urgency in having the Lord buried?
  4. What evidence is noted that the Lord was crucified on Friday?
  5. Who was Joseph of Arimathea? Who accompanied him to the burial site?
  6. Were there other theories concerning Christ's death and resurrection?
  7. How valid is the Shroud of Turin?


  1. Evening was between 3:00 in the afternoon and sunset.
  2. According to Jewish law, no work was to be done on the Sabbath.
  3. No burials could take place on the Sabbath, and the law stated that exposed bodies must be buried before sunset. (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).
  4. The three days and three nights was a cultural expression of the Jews, for any part of a 24-hour period is considered a day and a night. This could refute the Thursday crucifixion.
  5. He was a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, a devout Jew, waiting for the kingdom of God to come on earth. He had not gone along with the council's decision to arrest and crucify Jesus. Up to this point, he was a secret believer, but now he boldly asked for the body of Jesus. See Luke 23:50-51 and John 19:38-39. Nicodemus accompanied Joseph.
  6. Yes. Theories include a) the "swoon" theory (Christ wasn't really dead, and He revived in the coolness of the tomb), b) the Roman soldiers made a mistake and that Jesus wasn't really dead. There are also counter theories concerning the resurrection: a) they couldn't find the tomb, b) they went to the wrong tomb, c) the disciples stole the body from the tomb and hid it. (Were the authorities really this incompetent?)
  7. A shroud is the burial linen, enveloping the body after it has been wrapped with strips of linen and covered with spices. The Shroud of Turin is so named because it is housed in a church in Turin, Italy. It is thought by some to be the burial shroud of Christ because it has a faint image, supposedly printed there when Christ was resurrected in a burst of radiation. However, the radiation test date is to the Middle Ages.


  1. Often there is considerable importance placed on the location of Jesus' tomb, and on the shroud, even to the demeaning or exclusion of Christ's death and resurrection. How much time do you spend on secondary priorities?
  2. Are you or have you ever been a secret believer? If so what prompted you to hide your identification with Christ?


  1. Joseph of Arimathea was a respected and prominent council member. His reputation was put at risk when he sought the body of Jesus. He would lose the respect of his colleagues and be branded as a Jesus follower, becoming a part of a persecuted minority. Are you willing to risk your reputation for the sake of Christ?

Key Verses

  • "Joseph brought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. and he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled the stone against the door of the tomb." (Mark 15:46)

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