King’s Burial

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13b ff)

The street leading into Jerusalem was crowded as Jesus triumphantly approached, riding on a donkey. A path paved for a king with coats, cloaks, and palm branches lay ahead of him and people shouting “Hosanna” – save us now. The crowd’s anticipation lay on Jesus’ shoulders, but that wouldn’t change His future plans – the plans His Father had been anticipating since the creation of the Earth.

Just a day before His triumphant entry, (after the Sabbath) we read in John’s gospel an important account leading up to Jesus’ death; the anointing of Jesus. Shortly after Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead, we find him reclining in a house in Bethany with Martha and Mary; Lazarus’ sisters. That is when Mary takes out a VERY expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus’ feet. She humbly wipes His feet with her hair perhaps expressing gratitude for raising her brother, not even fully realizing the extent and implications of this gesture.

Some in the room are perplexed, and Judas Iscariot, as the “keeper of the money bag” (John 12:6) articulates his concern, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” (John 12:5) John’s account is quick however to note that Judas didn’t say this out of concern for the poor and needy, but rather out of greed which foreshadows Judas’ betrayal towards Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“’Leave her alone,’ Jesus replied. ‘It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.’” (John 12:7)

This profound statement wasn’t fully understood leading into Holy Week but is a great demonstration of God’s perfect plan playing out.

When Jesus was crucified on Good Friday it took six hours or so for Him to die. Around 3:00 PM “He gave up His Spirit” (Matthew 27:50). By the time Joseph of Arimathea received Jesus’ body for burial, he and Nicodemus hardly had any time to prepare the body before sundown; the beginning of the Sabbath. Because of this, they didn’t have time to properly wash the body and anoint it, but could only wrap it with spices and linen to keep the smell down. The women went home to prepare spices and perfume, but then rested on the Sabbath in obedience to their customs.

As soon as the sun came up after the Sabbath (3 days after Jesus’ burial) the women headed to Jesus’ tomb with spices in order to anoint Jesus’ body. We obviously know the rest of the story, however. The women saw the stone rolled away and an angel who exclaimed that Jesus has risen from the dead. The women wouldn’t be able to anoint their king. But in fact, Jesus had already been anointed prior to his burial. Despite being tried as a criminal, He received a King’s burial in a garden tomb as our anointed King and Savior – conqueror of sin, death, and the devil.

Written By : Lindsey Duerr, DCE