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Jesus Placed in the Tomb

Station Nine

Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross and place in a rock tomb by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme council.


To read or hear this story from Joseph see below

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Joseph's Story

It was getting late, and I didn’t have much time.  If I was going to go to Pilate, it had to be now, this minute!  “Goodness knows what he’ll say to me,” I thought, but I’m pretty sure he knew as well as I did that Jesus had not deserved such a death.  If I ask for his body to give him decent burial, that will be one of his problems solved, perhaps.  I had just had a new tomb dug, and it would have to do for now.

I hurried to Pilate’s headquarters, all the time trying to build up enough courage to ask for Jesus’ body.  Would my request reveal my allegiance to Jesus? I was well aware that I could be putting my reputation and possibly my own life on the line if Pilate or any of the council members found out that I was a secret disciple!  “It’s too late to worry about that now!” I thought.  Nicodemus was waiting for me in the shadows, along with some of our household servants, and I prayed that my courage would not desert me as I announced my presence to the guard.  “Leave the talking to me!” I hissed at Nicodemus.

Pilate was a less than imposing figure.  He barely looked up until I mentioned the name of Jesus, at which he put down his wine and stood to face me.  His eyes narrowed, and without looking away, he called for a guard.  “Is the rebel Jesus really dead?”, he asked.  “Yes sir”, came the reply.  “I myself stabbed his side to make sure. We didn’t even need to break his legs.  He was weak!”  Pilate picked up his wine and drank deeply, all the time holding my gaze.  It was a game of nerve I need to win! “Go!” he said, at last. “Take him.  He can’t do any more harm.” 

Nicodemus and I didn’t need telling twice.  We hurried to recover Jesus’ body, aware that dusk was fast approaching, marking the beginning of the Sabbath.   Jesus’ bloodstained and battered body was placed on a ledge inside the tomb, carefully though hurriedly wrapped in the linen cloth, and anointed with the spices that we had bought earlier that day.  There was no time for the proper ritual, though.  That would have to wait.  We rolled the large round stone along its groove, shutting the tomb.  The last of the daylight was fading fast, and so we quickly returned to the city, keen to see the end of such a terrible day.


  • Questions

    • Have you ever stood up for something you believe to be right, even if it made you unpopular with your family, or friends, or your workmates?

    • Has there been a time when you have been tempted to go against your conscience instead? How did that make you feel?

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