Print this Page

John60 – the first true sabbath

So the Judeans, since it was a making-ready-day, in order that the bodies may not stay upon the cross in the sabbath (because that sabbath was the great day), asked Pilate in order that their legs may be broken and they may be taken. So the soldiers came and indeed broke the legs of the first and of the other having been crucified with him. In fact having come upon Jesus, when they saw him already having died, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water came out immediately. (John 19: 31)
In John’s first-century eye-witness biography of Jesus it’s AD30 and we’ve now passed the hour on that Passover day when, on that Roman cross, Jesus said, “It is accomplished” and, bowing his head, gave over his spirit.  

However, that day was not only a Passover day, it was also a preparation-day for a sabbath – in fact a preparation-day for one of the “great” sabbaths. The word “sabbath” comes from a root word meaning “cessation” and “rest”. Understandably, the Jerusalem religious authorities did not want the bodies of the three criminals hanging around during a great sabbath. The bodies were under the authority of Pilate and he alone had authority to take them.

Pilate’s soldiers were given the task of ensuring all three were dead. The legs of two were broken but, Jesus already being dead, they instead pierced his side with a spear. Out came blood and water.  

And the one, having discerned, has testified, and his testimony is true, and that one discerns that he is stating true things, in order that you yourselves also may believe, because these things came to be in order that the scripture may be fulfilled: “A bone of his will not be broken.” And again another scripture says, “They will discern into the one they pierced.” 

The one who saw this take place seems to have been the writer, John. He carefully endorses the truth of what he has seen with his own eyes. He does so because, for the 1,300-odd earlier years when Passover had been celebrated, the LORD God’s instruction had always been observed. No bones of the sacrificial lambs were to be broken, as recorded in Israel’s archives. 

In addition, one of Israel’s prophets named Zechariah had, around 520 BC, prophesied about their then yet-to-come Messiah, “They will discern into the one whom they had pierced.”  Yes, pierced.

In fact with these things, Joseph from Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus having been hidden in fact through fear of the Judeans, asked Pilate that he may take the body of Jesus and Pilate permitted so he came and took his body. In fact Nicodemus—the one having come towards him at the first by night—also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, around a hundred ‘litras’. So they laid hold of the body of Jesus and tied it up in linen-cloths with the fragrances, just as it is the Judeans’ custom to bury. 

Joseph of Arimathea had “hidden” his discipleship of Jesus from the Jerusalem authorities. This did not stop him approaching Pilate so he could take the body of Jesus out of Roman hands. He was joined by Nicodemus whom we met in ‘John8-the man who came by night’. The latter brought about 32 kilos of “fragrances”. Together they fulfilled all the Judean burial rites on Jesus’ body.

In fact a garden was in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one was as yet set down. So there, through the making-ready-day of the Judeans, in that the tomb was near, they set down Jesus. 

To fulfil the Judean preparation-day requirements, the body could be carried only a short distance. So Joseph and Nicodemus buried the body of Jesus in a totally unused tomb in the garden where Jesus had been crucified.
At sunset the preparation-day was over. The ‘great’ sabbath began at dusk. The underlying Greek word ‘sabbaton’ (derived from the Hebrew word ‘shabbath’) means ‘cessation’ or ‘rest’. Jesus’ final words on the cross, “It is accomplished”, found their final meaning when he was laid to rest for that ‘rest’.

In fact in the one of the sabbaths, Mary the Magdalene comes early into the tomb, being still darkness, and sees the stone having been taken from the tomb. 

In his biography, John uses the present tense “comes” and “sees” so that readers feel the surprise and the immediacy of Mary Magdalene. He also describes the day as “the first of the sabbaths”. The first day of true ‘cessation’ and ‘rest’ for the crucified one – and his followers.  
Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *