The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).


“He Made His Grave with the Wicked,
and with the Rich in His Death”
By Al Stoner 
“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isa. 53:9).
Other Translations

-  “. . . and with a rich man in his death” (ACV, AMP, ASV, ESV)
-  “. . . in his death he was with a rich man” (CJB)
-  “. . . And men appointed his grave with the wicked, but he was with the rich in his death” (Darby)
-  “. . . His tomb was with the rich” (ERV)
-  “. . . His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death” (NASB77)
-  “. . . And he will be given a place with the impious for his burial, and with the rich for his death” (CPDV)
-  “. . . and with a rich man at His death” (HSCB)
-  “. . . And I will give the wicked for his burial, and the rich for his death” (Brenton)
-  “. . . They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb” (NET Bible)
-  “ . . . But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave” (NLT)
-  “. . . And they put his body into the earth with sinners, and his last resting-place was with the evil-doers” (BBE)
Joseph of Arimathæa. This second part of verse 9 is obviously an allusion to Joseph of Arimathæa, primarily, and possibly also to Nicodemus.  Both were men of means, either financial or social.   Joseph, an honorable counselor in Israel, and a disciple of Jesus, but secretly* for fear of the Jews, came to the forefront at a time when influence, such as he was given of God, was necessary for securing the body of Jesus from Pilate. Luke’s gospel tells us that Joseph, after gaining approval from Pilate, took Jesus’ body down from the Cross.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke specifically say that Joseph provided the tomb, where Jesus was buried.  (*We will speak a little later about Jesus’ secret disciples.)
Nicodemus.  Nicodemus was “a man of the Pharisees” and “a ruler of the Jews” (Jn. 3:1).  Nicodemus was the one who came to Jesus by night, and to whom Jesus spoke that extended and well-known discourse, containing probably the most frequently quoted Scripture in all of God’s Word – John 3:16.  There are some who would speak evil of Nicodemus because he came to Jesus by night.  But Nicodemus did come to Jesus.  He found a time when he could come.  And because He came we have the blessed record in Scripture of the Savior speaking together with him. 
Later, in chapter 7, John records that “Nicodemus” said unto his fellow Pharisees, “(he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” (Jn. 7:50-51). 
It was Nicodemus who “brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight”.  Joseph bought clean and fine linen in which to wrap Christ’s body.  He and Joseph together prepared Christ’s body for burial.
The first part of verse 9 coupled together with the second part, which is our topic today, seems to have this sense.  The Lord Jesus was, by God’s appointment, with wicked men when He was suffering for sins upon the Cross.  He was crucified by wicked hands.  He was being observed by wicked eyes and hears.  He was crucified between two notable sinners, one of which repented. 
But in the second part of verse 9, after that sin had been put away, speaking of His burial, the Lord Jesus Christ was with, and in the care of, good and honorable men.  His body was in their care and custody.  His body was in the close and watchful care of Joseph, Nicodemus, and the women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses.  In all three instances, Joseph, Nicodemus, and the women each did what they could, and it was accepted of God, recounted wherever the gospel is preached.  In this rare instance, men are bestowing a benefit upon the Savior in His death, when in every other instance, the benefits are flowing abundantly from Him to believing men.
The women couldn’t do what Joseph and Nicodemus did, but, out of love they watched, stood guard, and brought sweet spices for Jesus’ burial.  And that was accepted.
Almost every king in Judah and Israel was given an honorable burial.  It is only proper that the King of the Jews, the King of kings, would not be buried in disgrace, especially now that sin had been thoroughly taken away by Him.  Even though His use of the grave would be temporary, nevertheless He was buried in honor.
Here we can see a divine intervention.  If Joseph and Nicodemus had not been afore prepared of God, and brought to the forefront at just the right time, the Lord Jesus Christ would have been buried as a common criminal.  Their influence among the Jews and with Pilate seems to have been given to them as a stewardship, in order that they might do this all important and honorable work of preparing the Savior for His burial, and placing Him in a tomb. 
The record given by the four gospel writers reads as follows:
The Record Given by Matthew.  “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathæa, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher” (Mt. 27:57-61).
In Mark’s Gospel.  “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathæa, an honourable counseller, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid” (Mk. 15:42-47).
The Record in Luke’s Gospel.  “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counseller; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathæa, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment” (Lk. 23:50-56).
John’s Recounting of the Matter.  “And after this Joseph of Arimathæa, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand” (Jn. 19:38-42).
Miscellaneous Observations.  Scholars are not agreed on the precise location of Arimathæa (a city of the Jews), but suffice it to say, that it was a significant distance from Jerusalem.  And the fact that Joseph had a tomb that hewn in a rock in Jerusalem for his own burial, instead of in Arimathæa, accords with the fact that he was, indeed, “a rich man” (Mt. 27:57).
The fact that he willingly gave his tomb [which no doubt cost him no small sum of money] to the Lord Jesus Christ, when the opportunity suddenly presented itself, points to the fact that Joseph was “a good man” (Lk. 23:50).
The fact that Joseph went in boldly unto Pilate and begged, yea craved, the body of Jesus that he might take Him down from the Cross and bury Him in a dignified manner (instead of permitting the Romans to dispose of Him as a common criminal) speaks volumes about Joseph’s character, and at the very least, points to the fact that he was a just man.
In tribute to Joseph Matthew writes that Joseph “himself was Jesus’ disciple”, and that “he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus”. 
Mark writes that he was among those who “waited for the kingdom of God”, and that he “came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.” 
Luke adds that Joseph was “a counseller; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them).” 
And John tells us that Joseph was “a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews”.  John is the writer who tells us that Nicodemus “brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight” and that both he and Joseph took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial.
In tribute to both Joseph and Nicodemus, they had “come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).  Where were His disciples, who had laid down their lives to follow Him?  But what could they have done if they were there?  The disciples could not have obtained Christ’s body from Pilate.  And even if they could have obtained it, they would not have had the means to provide for His burial.
Secret Disciples. Is it possible that Jesus has secret disciples in every generation?  What about our generation?  We want to be alert for those who show a favorable response to the Word of God?  Perhaps, their time will come when they will be brought to the forefront and be given a critical kingdom work to do.  “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (I Cor. 4:5).  “Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid” (I Tim. 5:25). --Editor


"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).