Mark 15:43
Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counseller, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
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(43) Joseph of Arimathsea.—The account given of him is fuller than in St. Matthew. The phrase, “which also waited for the kingdom of God,” has its parallel in Luke 23:51.

Went in boldly.—Better, waxed bold, and went in. There is an implied contrast between his boldness now and his previous timidity.

15:42-47 We are here attending the burial of our Lord Jesus. Oh that we may by grace be planted in the likeness of it! Joseph of Arimathea was one who waited for the kingdom of God. Those who hope for a share in its privileges, must own Christ's cause, when it seems to be crushed. This man God raised up for his service. There was a special providence, that Pilate should be so strict in his inquiry, that there might be no pretence to say Jesus was alive. Pilate gave Joseph leave to take down the body, and do what he pleased with it. Some of the women beheld where Jesus was laid, that they might come after the sabbath to anoint the dead body, because they had not time to do it before. Special notice was taken of Christ's sepulchre, because he was to rise again. And he will not forsake those who trust in him, and call upon him. Death, deprived of its sting, will soon end the believer's sorrows, as it ended those of the Saviour.Joseph, an honorable counselor - A distinguished man, who probably held a high office among the Jews, as one of their great council, or a Jewish senator. The word "honorable," here, is not a mere title of "office," but is given in reference to his personal character, as being a man of integrity and blameless life.

Waited for the kingdom of God - Waited for, or expected, the coming of the Messiah. But this expression means more than an "indefinite" expectation that the Messiah "would" come, for all the Jews expected that. It implies that he believed "Jesus" to be the Messiah, and that he had "waited" for Him to build up the kingdom of God; and this agrees with what John says John 19:38, that he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews. He had retained his "secret" belief, in the hope that Jesus would be proclaimed and treated as the Messiah, and then he probably proposed openly to acknowledge his attachment to him. But God called him to a public profession of attachment in a different manner, and gave this distinguished man grace to evince it. So men often delay a profession of attachment to Christ. They cherish a secret love, they indulge a hope in the mercy of God, but they conceal it for fear of man; whereas God requires that the attachment should be made known. "Whosoever is ashamed of me," said the Saviour, "and of my words, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his Father and with the holy angels," Mark 8:38. Those who love the Saviour have no right to hide their light under a bushel. As soon as they have evidence satisfactory to their own mind that they are Christians, or have a "prevalent" belief, after faithful examination, that they truly love God, and that they depend on the Lord Jesus for salvation, so soon are they bound to profess Christ before men. This is the command of God, and this is the way of peace. None have the prospect of "comfort" in religion who do not have respect to all of the commandments of God.

Went in boldly unto Pilate - God had raised up this distinguished counselor and secret disciple for a special and most important occasion. The disciples of Jesus had fled, and if they had not, they had no influence with Pilate. Unless there had been a special application to Pilate in behalf of Jesus, his body would have been buried "that night" in the same grave with the malefactors, for it was a law of the Jews that the body of an executed man should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath. At this critical juncture God called forward this secret disciple - this friend of Jesus, though unknown as such to the world - and gave him confidence. He dared to express sympathy for the Saviour; he went in boldly and begged the body of Jesus. It needed no small measure of courage to do this. Jesus had just been condemned, mocked, spit on, crucified - the death of a slave or of the most guilty wretch. To avow attachment for him now was proof of sincere affection; and the Holy Spirit has thought this worthy of special notice, and has set down this bold attachment of a senator for Jesus for our imitation.

Craved the body - Begged, or asked.

Mr 15:38-47. Signs and Circumstances Following the Death of the Lord Jesus.—He Is Taken Down from the Cross and Buried—The Sepulchre Is Guarded. ( = Mt 27:51-66; Lu 23:45, 47-56; Joh 19:31-42).

See on [1520]Mt 27:51-56; and [1521]Joh 19:31-42.

See Poole on "Mark 15:42"

Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor,.... A man of a good aspect, well dressed, and that behaved well and honourably in his office, as a counsellor: he seems to have been a priest, and one of the bench of priests that sat in the high priest's chamber, which is called, , "the chamber of the counsellors" (d); with whom he advised there, in matters of moment:

which also waited for the kingdom of God; for the coming and kingdom of the Messiah, for the Gospel dispensation, the world to come, the Jews were so much in expectation of.

Came and went in boldly unto Pilate; not now ashamed of Christ, or afraid openly to appear in his cause, and declare himself a lover of him, a believer in him, and a disciple of his, though he formerly was:

and craved the body of Jesus; desired leave to take it down from the cross, and bury it; See Gill on Matthew 27:58.

(d) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 3. 2. & Hieros. Yoma, fol. 38. 3.

Joseph of Arimathaea, an {d} honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in {e} boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

(d) A man of great authority, of the council of the sanhedrin, or else a man who was taken by Pilate for his own council.

(e) If we consider what danger Joseph put himself into we shall perceive how bold he was.

Mark 15:43. εὐσχήμων: Mt. has πλούσιος; vide there for remarks on the two epithets.—βουλευτής, a councillor, not in the provincial town, Arimathaea, which would have been mentioned, but in the grand council in Jerusalem.—καὶ αὐτὸς: not in contrast to the Sanhedrists generally (Weiss), but in company with the women previously named (Schanz); he, like them, was an expectant of the Kingdom of God.—τολμήσας: a graphic word, in Mk. only, giving a vivid idea of the situation. Objections to be feared on Pilate’s part on score of time—dead so soon? possibly surly indifference to the decencies of burial in the case of a crucified person, risk of offence to the religious leaders in Jerusalem by sympathy shown to the obnoxious One, even in death. Therefore to be rendered: “taking courage, went in unto Pilate” (vide Field, Ot. Nor., ad loc.).

43. Joseph of Arimathæa] i. e. either of Rama in Benjamin (Matthew 2:18) or Ramathaim in Ephraim (1 Samuel 1:1). Probably the latter. The place is called in the LXX. “Armathaim,” and by Josephus “Armathia.” Joseph was a man of wealth (Matthew 27:57), a member of the Sanhedrim (Luke 23:50), and a secret disciple of Jesus (John 19:38), who had not consented to the resolution of the rest to put Him to death (Luke 23:51).

waited for the kingdom] like Simeon (Luke 2:25) and Anna (Luke 2:38).

went in boldly] He is no longer a secret disciple. He casts away all fear. The Cross transfigures cowards into heroes. “It was no light matter Joseph had undertaken: for to take part in a burial, at any time, would defile him for seven days, and make everything unclean which he touched (Numbers 19:11; Haggai 2:13); and to do so now involved his seclusion through the whole Passover week—with all its holy observances and rejoicings.” Geikie, ii. 576.

craved the body of Jesus] It was not the Roman custom to remove the bodies of the crucified from the cross. Instead of shortening their agonies the Roman law left them to die a lingering death, and suffered their bodies to moulder under the action of sun and rain (comp. Cic. Tusc. Quæst. i. 43, “Theodori nihil interest humine an sublime putrescat”), or be devoured by wild beasts (comp. Hor. Epist. xvi. 48, “Non hominem occidi: non pasces in cruce corvos”). The more merciful Jewish Law, however, did not allow such barbarities, and the Roman rulers had made an express exception in their favour. In accordance, therefore, with the request of the Jewish authorities, the legs of the malefactors had been broken to put them out of their misery (John 19:31), but our Lord was found to be dead already (John 19:33), and the soldier had pierced His side with a spear, the point of which was a handbreadth in width, thus causing a wound which would of itself have been sufficient to cause death, whereupon there had issued forth blood and water (John 19:34). Thus the Holy Body was now ready for its entombment.

Mark 15:43. Ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, who was from Arimathea) The article shows, that this had become a surname of Joseph. Matthew does not employ the article, because he wrote before Mark.—εὐσχήμων, honourable) Distinguished by both honour and dignity.—βουλευτὴς, senator) of the Jerusalem Sanhedrim.—τολμήσας, having boldly ventured) A praiseworthy boldness. [Not unattended with personal risk.—V. g.] John 19:38. An elegant and effective Asyndeton.[10] [It very frequently happens in the case of those making such bold ventures, that their efforts succeed better than you would have supposed.—V. g.]

[10] Omission of the copula between ἐλθὼν and τολμήσας.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 43. - Joseph of Arimathaea. St. Jerome says that this city was called Ramathaim-Zophim (the lofty place), where dwelt Elkanah and Hannah of old, and where Samuel was born. Joseph was most probably a native of Arimathaea; but he was now a citizen and counsellor of Jerusalem. He was an honorable counsellor (εὐσχήμων βουλευτής), a councillor of honorable estate (Revised Version). St. Matthew says he was a rich man. It is evident that he regarded himself as a settled inhabitant of Jerusalem, since he had thus provided himself with a place of sepulture. He was waiting for (προσδεχόμενος) - literally, looking for - the kingdom of God. St. Matthew (Matthew 27:57) says that he was a disciple of Jesus. These circumstances explain his desire to bury our Lord. He boldly went in (τολμήσας εἰσῆλθε) - literally, he took courage and went in - unto Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. A poor man would not have dared to approach Pilate for such a purpose as this. St. Chrysostom says, "The courage of Joseph is greatly to be admired, in that, for the love of Christ, he exposed himself to the danger of death." The fact that he was "looking for the kingdom of God" explains his conduct. It shows that he believed in Christ, and through his grace hoped for everlasting salvation; and in this hope he thought little of shelving his reverence for Christ, and so" boldly went in unto Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus." Mark 15:43Joseph of Arimathaea (Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας)

Lit., Joseph, he from Arimathaea: the article indicating a man well known.

Honorable (εὐσχήμων)

Compounded of εὖ, well, and σχῆμα, form, shape, figure. On the latter word, see on Matthew 17:2. In its earlier use this adjective would, therefore, emphasize the dignified external appearance and deportment. So Plato, noble bearing ("Republic," 413). Later, it came to be used in the sense of noble; honorable in rank. See Acts 13:50; Acts 17:12.


A member of the Sanhedrim, as appears from Luke 23:51.

Went in boldly (τολμήσας εἰσῆλθεν)

Lit., having dared went in. Daring all possible consequences.

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