Mary at the Sepulchre

Mary was the first to come to the sepulchre. Her history is obscure. She was once a habitual sinner against the seventh commandment. There is no evidence of this. Scripture does give testimony that the Lord had cast “seven devils” Luke 8:2. Her gratitude knew no bounds. None seemed to have loved Him so much as Mary did. None felt that they owed so much.

What about us? Do you and I care this much about Jesus? Could you and I have gone this far in our devotion and loyalty to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Sometimes I think we need to search our hearts concerning our devotion to Jesus Christ.

Jesus was buried in what we would call a family plot. When these caves were purchased, they were set up for the burial of family members. It was a generous act on Joseph of Arimathaea’s part to place Jesus’ body in his family sepulchre. This shows how much Joseph loved the Lord. History says that these “caves” had eight sepulchers in them. Jesus’ body was placed in one of these sepulchers. Oh how much Joseph of Arimathaea loved Jesus!

The Rewards of Such Devotion


To Mary we find the historic and physical revelation of the risen Savior along with the spiritual establishment of all her hopes here and hereafter. Jesus was gladdened in soul as He witnessed the sorrowful fidelity of this humble woman of God. He was driven to say her name revealing His triumph over death. This was the direct reward of her manifested devotion and loyalty. It should be noted that devotion compels revelation as love compels love.  Such acts are open to revelations concerning the faith that is shown. Spiritual hope blooms in spiritual truth. Revelations of unused and unsuspected powers are waiting upon single eyes and surrendered souls. The tears are shed beside open graves, and the sorrows which burden our hearts shall all be forgotten in the joy of His presence and the sound of His voice. [For further information, please search for William H. Davis.]

The Sepulchre

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is very important to our salvation. If Jesus had not been resurrected, then our faith and salvation would be worthless. Paul bears this out in I Cor. 15: 12-23 where he says that if Christ be not risen, then our faith is in vain. We are putting our trust and confidence in an event that did not happen. Please see my separate entry on this scriptural passage entitled “The Connection Between Jesus’ Resurrection and Our Salvation.”

The Sepulchre

Jesus was buried in a rich man’s sepulchre.  This fact did not matter because He would not be in it for long.  As we can see from the text, this rich man’s burial place was hewn out of some rock on his own ground. It would be like a cave where relatives were buried. It would be what we call a “family plot.” To those who entered the sepulchral cave, those who carried the bier would enter the first floor. They would sit down the bier into the sepulchre. There would be a place that was hollowed out. It would be a hollowed out space, which would be four cubits deep where the dead would rest. From this information, we can glean many matters concerning Jesus’ place of burial. The women entering into the sepulchre saw a young man sitting on the right “side”: in the very floor immediately after the entrance into the sepulchre. Note Mark 16:5. Once they got inside, they sought to find His body, and it was not there. Note what Luke 24:3 says:

(Luke 24:3)  “And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”

While they bowed down their heads in sorrow, Peter ran to the sepulchre, and he had to stoop down in order to look inside. He was confronted with the linen clothes and no body. At the head and the foot where Jesus’ body had laid were two angels. [For further information, you can Google J. Lightfoot, D.D. for more insightful information concerning ancient burial sites


Introduction to John 20

Summary of John 20

This chapter deals with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The people involved in this chapter are:

  • Mary Magdalene

  • Peter

  • John

  • two angels

  • Jesus

  • the disciples

  • Thomas

The key word is resurrection which is found in John 20:14.

Reference Scripture: Matthew 28

The striking facts in this chapter can be found in John 20:31, which defines the purpose of God’s Word. It is the demonstration of the deity of Jesus Christ. It reveals the effectiveness of such a divine sacrifice upon humanity and its restored relationship with the Father through salvation.

This chapter concerns the complete glorification of Jesus in His resurrection. This record pauses for a moment to speak of that great Sabbath. It begins again with the greatest day in history. Both heathen and foes admit the fact of the death of Jesus. The argument comes into play when dealing with the resurrection of Jesus. The proof is revealed to all humanity, but it is not accepted by all. To admit to this fact is to say that they believe who Jesus is, and what His death, burial and resurrection has done for humanity. The evidence is overwhelming, but it is pushed off as nothing more than a myth. The reality of this event was experienced by several groups of people to whom Jesus showed Himself. People who had not been in contact with one another became true witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Unfortunately, the religious leaders along with Rome’s leaders cast it aside. They claimed that it was nothing more than a hoax which had been concocted by His followers. They claimed that these “witnesses” had planned this so-called event all along. What they had really done was remove the body of Jesus in order to claim His resurrection from the dead. An explanation was concocted which stated that the followers of Jesus had stolen his body from the sepulchre. Biblical scholars say that “many infallible proofs” were given. This is noted in Luke’s second letter to Theophilus in Acts 1:1-26. It brought about the irresistible conviction as to the reality of the Resurrection.

Places such as Palestine, Phoenicia, Syria and Crete saw the development of communities which rose up based upon the faith of those who believed in the reality of this event. The redeemed said so. It should be noted that the resurrection fact was preached in Galatia, Macedonia, Corinth, Rome and Babylon before the gospels were written on parchment. The gospels and the Book of Acts provided five independent series of evidence to the revelations which the apostles and apostolic company received concerning the nature and quality of the new life in Jesus Christ.

The Trauma

John 19:31-34, 36-37


In John 19:31, it is revealed that the time of preparation had come. Because of this time, the Jews asked Pilate to break their legs so that they would die quickly. Therefore, their bodies be removed and buried the same day. They did not want these individuals’ crucified bodies to remain upon the crosses overnight–especially during their holy day of Passover. In the Old Testament, it is forbidden for a body to hang on a tree or cross overnight. See Deut. 21:22-23.

Now we need to discuss the piercing of Jesus. First, the cruelty of the piercing. The soldiers could not resist an act of brutality upon the body of Christ. This was only a continuation of their meanness toward Christ. Jesus was pierced in the side possibly with a spear. Second, the consequences of the piercing. Blood and water came out of Jesus’ side as prophesied in Psalm 22:16-17. Third, the error from the piercing. Those who say that Jesus only fainted, and He had been revived in the grave are liars. They are rejecting the truth of the gospel. Such unbelief is dangerous.

Calvary was not an accident in which God lost control to the cleverness of man. God was in control of everything concerning this event. Man was obedient to God’s plan.


The Final Sayings

Although Jesus uttered seven sayings on the cross, John records three. The first one is about transferring the care of Mary. She is His mother, and she is placed in the care of the Apostle John. It is important to understand that the first three sayings of Jesus deal with the needs of others. Most people would have a problem being concerned about others. He did what He could do to alleviate their problems. “The best balm for pain and sorrow is to minister to others.” (Strauss)

“He saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! “John 19:26

The angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce that she would be the one to bear the Messiah. He told her she was “highly favored.” Luke 1:28  This did not exempt her from earthly suffering. The fact is that the more highly favored an individual is in heaven, the more one may suffer on earth because Satan hates those individuals. Jesus is sovereign over Mary. The fact that Jesus calls her “woman” shows her place compared to Christ.

This shows the service in the transfer of care for Mary. It is a good illustration of Christian service. Jesus reveals the selected for service. Christ had four half-brothers and at least two-half-sisters. Note Matthew 13:55-56. Why isn’t Mary placed in their care? The answer comes from the fact that they are not devoted to Christ like the Apostle John is. They believed after the resurrection. Note John 7:5 and Acts 1:14. Jesus selects those who are devoted to Him for service. He knew that John would be devoted to her. He knew John would submit to this commission. What was also taken into account was the sacrifice for service. Caring for Mary would take great sacrifice. This care would include extra expenses and care. You and I must learn to sacrifice in our devotion to Him.

The third, fifth and sixth of the seven sayings of Christ on the cross are recorded by John. “Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst” John 19:28. Christ was also concerned about the fulfillment of Scripture. We must show this same dedication to obedience to the Scriptures. We need to look for a few minutes to the cause for the thirst.

1. Physical suffering. The suffering on the cross would create much thirst. Jesus may not have had a drink of water since He was in the Upper Room.

2. Spiritual suffering. This is the primary meaning of the saying, “I thirst.” Christ was experiencing the suffering for sin as He took the place of the sinner.

In John 19:30, Jesus says words of finality–“It is finished.” Although this saying is very brief, it holds profound meaning. This speaks of Christ’s suffering on earth. It is all over now. Note what Arthur W. Pink says about this. “What tongue or pen can describe the sufferings of the Savior?” This is something that we never are able to fully grasp. This statement speaks of the finished work of Christ concerning the work of salvation on the cross. Salvation requires that there be a blood sacrifice for the sin of the individual. The Old Testament speaks of many sacrifices, but they did not possess the power to remove the sin(s). Note Hebrews 10:11-12, 14. It was the sacrifice of all sacrifices. It fulfilled all the types of offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament.

It speaks of victory over Satan. His opposition did not make the final sacrifice void. Satan failed to stop Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. Christ conquered victoriously. Jesus had completed His service. His assignment was complete.


The Title

The next thing we look at is the title above Jesus’ head. This is revealed in John 19:19. The title reads as follows:


JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. Every victim that is crucified gets a list of their crimes nailed to their cross. This title was right. Pilate writes the truth even though the Jews do not believe it. It is a title that is readable to all those who come from Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. It is written in three languages: Hebrew, Greek and Latin. These are the three main languages of the crowds.


The Jews reject this title. Note John 19:21-22. There is the fact of unbelief. They tell Pilate not to write that Jesus is the king of the Jews. There is the fact of the Jews’ unyielding to the rejection. John 19:22. Pilate’s stand is strong here. It is too late. Now we will discuss the tradition at the crucifixion.


John 19:23-24

The fact that the soldiers began to divide Jesus’ garments shows the poverty of the times. There is no recognition of the value of these garments. The parting of these garments are shameful to those being crucified. What this means is that Jesus was stripped of His garments. Religious artists wisely cover Jesus with a loin cloth. Note the words in verse 24:


“That the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.”


Compare this verse with Psalm 22:18. The fulfillment of Scripture reminds us that Calvary is not an accident. It is the well-planned event by God.