A Burial Fit for a King

Read: John 19:38-42

. . . a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. (v. 39)

Jesus’s burial was performed by two men, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Both were prominent men, but they were also secretly disciples of Jesus. However, by caring for Jesus’s body, the secret of their discipleship to Jesus was out.

They took the body and gave him a proper burial in a tomb. The other gospels tell us that this new tomb was Joseph’s and that he offered it for Jesus. As part of the burial customs, they wrapped him in linen cloths and some spices, including myrrh. The same spice that the wise men brought as a gift for the newborn king was used to honor the crucified king.

Nicodemus included 75 pounds of myrrh and aloe. This was insanely extravagant, the kind of burial that you would only ever see for a king or someone close to it. Earlier, Mary anointed Jesus with a little jar of perfume that cost 300 denarii—10 months wages (John 12:5). These burial spices could have easily been worth more than 30,000 denarii—something like 83 years’ worth of income spent on the spices to bury Jesus. A lifetime’s worth of income spent to honor Jesus.

During his life, Joseph and Nicodemus kept their faith secret. But at Jesus’s death, they gave everything to proclaim that he was worthy of the honor of a king, that he is the true king, that the inscription written over him on the cross was true—Jesus was King.

As you pray, ask God to help you offer your best to honor Jesus as King.

About the Author

Stephen Shaffer is the pastor at Bethel Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario.

This entry is part 30 of 31 in the series Looking to Jesus