John 19:38-42

John 19:38-42
Holy Saturday ABC


38 After these things, JosephA of Arimathea,B who was a discipleC of Jesus,D though a secretE one because of his fearF of the Jews,G

Notes on verse 38a

A “Joseph” = ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; Joseph); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases.”
B “Arimathea” = harimathaia. 4x in NT. From Hebrew compare Ramah (Ramah, height); from rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively). This is Arimathea, a city by Jerusalem.
C “disciple” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
D “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
E “secret” = krupto. 18x in NT. This is to hide by covering, secret, hidden things. This is the root of the word “cryptography.”
F “fear” = phobos. From phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect.
G “Jews” = ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.

askedH PilateI to let him take away the bodyJ of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission;K so he came and removed his body. 

Notes on verse 38b

H “asked” = erotao. From eromai (to ask) OR from ereo (to say, tell, call, speak of). This is asking a question or making an earnest request. It is used between someone with whom the asker is close in some sense. So, they anticipate special consideration for their request.
I “Pilate” = pilatos. From Latin Pilatus (may mean one who has skill with a javelin); perhaps from pilum (javelin) OR perhaps from pileus (a soft cap made of felt that was brimless and was associated with people who were freedmen). This is Pilate. See
J “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
K “gave…permission” = epitrepo. 18x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + the same as trope (turning, change, shifting); {from trepo (to turn)}. This is to allow, permit, yield, entrust, give license

39 Nicodemus,L who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrhM and aloes,N weighing about a hundred pounds.O 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrappedP it with the spicesQ in linen cloths, according to the burial customR of the Jews. 

Notes on verses 39-40

L “Nicodemus” = nikodemos. Related to “slave” in v18:10 & “bound” in v18:12. 5x in NT. From nikos (victory, triumph – especially a conquest); {from nike (victory, conquest; figurative for what makes one successful)} + demos (district, multitude, rabble, assembly; Greeks bound by similar laws or customs); {from deo (see note XXVII above)}. This is Nicodemus, meaning “victorious among his people.”
M “myrrh” = smurna. 2x in NT. Perhaps from muron (ointment, perfume, or oil for anointing); compare Arabic murr (myrrh, literally meaning bitterness) & Hebrew mo (myrrh, literally meaning bitterness). This is myrrh, used in preparing the body for burial. Can also be figurative for romantic desire. See
N “aloes” = aloe. 1x in NT. This is either sap from a tree called the aquillaria agallocha, the eaglewood tree, or it could refer to proper aloe. In addition to its use for embalming, aloe is associated with love in the Song of Songs 4:14.
O “pounds” = litra. 2x in NT. From Latin libra (a Roman weight – twelve ounces; also a level or set of scales); from Proto-Italic lithra (pound). This is a pound, which is about 327.5 grams. See
P “wrapped” = deo. To tie, bind, compel, put in chains. This is to bind in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean declaring something unlawful.
Q “spices” = aroma. 4x in NT. Perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is a sweet spice or perfume. It is where the word “aroma” comes from.
R “custom” = ethos. 12x in NT. From etho (custom, what is customary). This is custom or habit. It is how one acts in accordance with tradition or regular practice.

41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified,S and in the garden there was a newT tombU in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Notes on verses 41-42

S “crucified” = stauroo. From stauros (upright stake, cross; literally the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die); from the same as histemi (to stand, cause to stand). This can be to attach someone to a cross or fencing with stakes. In a figurative sense, it could be to destroy, mortify, or subdue passions/selfishness.
T “new” = kainos. This is not new as in new versus old. This is new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh.
U “tomb” = mnemeion. From mousikos (to remember); from mneme (memory or mention); from mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is properly a memorial – a tomb, grave, monument.

Image Credit: ” Joseph of Arimathaea Seeks Pilate to Beg Permission to Remove the Body of Jesus ” by James Tissot.

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