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Text 1: John 19:38-42; Matthew 27: 57-61
John 19:38-42 38Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Matthew 27: 57-61 57As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

Background information: It was important that Jesus be buried immediately; it had to be done within three hours after his death, between 3 and 6 pm. The reason for this haste was the Great Sabbath, which began when the first evening star appeared in the sky, and by that time everyone was to be in their homes. Usually, the bodies of criminals were left to rot on the crosses until they dropped down, but since it was the time of the Passover Feast the inhabitants of Jerusalem were spared the ugly sight and nasty smell of the crucified bodies. Joseph of Arimathaea went to see Pilate and the Sanhedrist Nicodemus went to get what was needed for the burial. Then Jesus´ abused body was removed from the cross and taken to the tomb. None of Jesus´ disciples were present when he was buried with the exception of Mary Magdalene – the only one of Jesus´ original followers.

  • Compare the burial of someone close to you to the burial of Jesus.
  • Why weren´t Jesus´ disciples there when their Lord and master was buried?
  • Joseph and Nicodemus had been secret disciples of Jesus. What does their behaviour indicate in this situation?
  • What would possibly have happended to Jesus´ body if Joseph and Nicodemus hadn´t decided to take action?
  • Think about reasons why Jesus´ mother and the other Galilean women didn´t come to the tomb but returned to their homes. (They didn´t live in Jerusalem but were there for the Feast of the Passover)
  • Think about how Jesus´ body was taken down from the cross.
  • What were the large linen cloth and seventy-five pounds (about 30 kg) of ointment needed for?
  • Why does Matthew especially mention that the tomb was new and empty?
  • What do you think was missing from this burial? (What might it have been like, had there been more time?)

    Mary at the tomb, verse 61
    Background information: Mary Magdalene came from the country and wasn´t too familiar with Jerusalem, nor did she move in the same circles with Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathaea. “The other Mary” is the mother of Jacob the younger and of Joses, and the wife of Clopas. She, too, had been standing on Golgotha the whole long Friday afternoon. (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40, John 19:25).

  • Imagine what Mary´s mental and physical state was like that afternoon when she was following the funeral procession to the family tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. What kind of feelings do you think were running through her?
  • Why didn´t Mary do anything at Jesus´ burial but just sat on a stone and watched?
  • Do you think Mary was in a state of shock? Give reasons to your answers.

    Text 2: Mark 15:47 ja Luke 23: 54-56
    Mark 15:47 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
    Luke 23: 54-56 54It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

  • What does this text tell us about the two Marys?
  • What may have refrained the Marys from acting hysterically at the burial?
  • Why did the Marys rush to buy herbs and ointment at the last minute? Couldn´t it have been done later?
  • What was the Sabbath like that Jesus spent in the tomb? Think about this from Mary´s point of view.

    Questions related to The Da Vinci Code:

  • Apart from Mary Magdalene, the other Mary is also mentioned in the text. What does this indicate?
  • If Dan Brown´s suggestion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had an affair was true, how would the other Mary have acted in this situation?

    (NB! This section has the fewest questions whereas the next one has the most. If there is time left, you can proceed to the first questions in section 4, ‘ At the empty tomb’)

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