Matthew 27:57-66

Matthew 27:57-66
Holy Saturday ABC


57 When it was evening, there came a richA manB from Arimathea,C namedD Joseph,E who was also a discipleF of Jesus.G 

Notes on verse 57

A “rich” = plousios. From ploutos (wealth and abundance, whether literal or figurative); from polus (much, many plenteous); probably from pleo (to sail, voyage, flow, abound). This is abounding in – having all needed resources and thus wealthy.
B “man” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
C “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.
D “named” = tounoma. From ho (the) + onoma (name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation; thought to include something of the essence of the person and not separate from the person); {may be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience)}. This is by name.
E “Joseph” = ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; Joseph); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases.”
F “was…a disciple” = matheteuo. From mathetes (disciple, learner, or student); 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 to be, make, or train a disciple.
G “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.

58 He went to PilateH and asked for the bodyI of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 

59 So Joseph took the body and wrappedJ it in a cleanK linen cloth 

Notes on verses 58-59

H “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
I “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.
J “wrapped” = entulisso. 3x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + tulisso (to twist); {probably akin to helisso (to roll up or wrap)}. This is to entwine or envelop.
K “clean” = katharos. This is clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying.

60 and laid it in his own newL tomb,M which he had hewn in the rock.N He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61 MaryO MagdaleneP and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.Q

Notes on verses 60-61

L “new” = kainos. This is not new as in new versus old. This is new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh.
M “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.
N “rock” = petra. 15x in NT. This is large rock that is connected and or projecting like a rock, ledge, or cliff. It can also be cave or stony ground.
O “Mary” = mariam. From Hebrew Miryam (Aaron and Moses’s sister); from marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam or Mary.
P “Magdalene” = Magdalene. 12x in NT. From Magdala (Magadan, a place near the Sea of Galilee); perhaps from Aramaic migdal, see also Hebrew migdal (tower); from gadal (to grow, grow up, be great). This is from Magdala.
Q “tomb” = taphos. 7x in NT. From thapto (to bury, conduct a funeral). This is a burial and so a grave or tomb.

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the PhariseesR gatheredS before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir,T we rememberU what that impostorV said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will riseW again.’ 

Notes on verses 62-63

R “Pharisees” = pharisaios. From Aramaic peras (to divide, separate) and from Hebrew parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter). This is a Pharisee, a member of a Jewish sect active in the 1st century. Their name meant separate in the sense of wanting to live a life separated from sin. Whereas the Sadducees were part of the priestly line and inherited their religious position and responsibilities, Pharisees were regular people who studied the scriptures and offered guidance to regular folk. Sadducees were often wealthier and willing to sacrifice their identity to rub elbows with Roman society. Pharisees were often more concerned with what it meant to follow God without compromising what made them different as followers of God. Sadducees primarily believed in that which was written down (the first five books of the Bible) and Pharisees believed in the Bible and the traditions of the elders. Pharisees had a very wide range of interpretations and diversity of opinion. Their standard mode of religion engagement was lively debate with one another. To argue religion with another teacher was to recognize that they had something of value to offer.
S “gathered” = sunago. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, go, drive). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
T “sir” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
U “remember” = mimnesko. Related to “tomb” in v27:60. From mnaomai (see note M above). This is to remember, remind, be intentionally mindful of.
V “imposter” = planos. 5x in NT. This is one who leads astray – wandering, deceiving, misleading, an imposter.
W “rise” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.

64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secureX until the third day; otherwise his disciplesY may go and steal him away,Z and tell the people,AA ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deceptionBB would be worseCC than the first.” 

Notes on verse 64

X “made secure” = asphalizo. 4x in NT. From asphales (certain, safe, reliable, definite; literally, unfailing; secured because it is built on solid ground; secure in a literal or figurative sense); {from a (not) + sphallo (tripping up, cast down)}. This is to make secure, fasten, make firm. Used of binding a prison in stocks. Related to the word “asphalt.”
Y “disciples” = mathetes. Related to “was…a disciple” in v27:57. See note F above.
Z “steal…away” = klepto. 13x in NT. This stealing by stealth rather than violence.
AA “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
BB “deception” = plane. Related to “imposter” in v27:63. 10x in NT. From planos (see note V above). This is literally a wandering, but figuratively deceit, error, or sin. It can mean fraudulence or apostasy.
CC “worse” = cheiron. 11x in NT. Used as a comparative of kakos (bad, evil, harm, ill; evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm; deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character; can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil; also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue). This is worse or more evil.

65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guardDD of soldiers; go,EE make it as secure as you can.”FF 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealingGG the stone.

Notes on verses 65-66

DD “guard” = koustodia. 3x in NT. From Latin custodia (custody, protection, guardianship); from custos (guard, jailer, keeper, custodian); perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewdʰ- (to cover, wrap, encase); from *(s)kew- (to cover, hide). This is a guard or watch – a Roman sentry. See
EE “go” = hupago. Related to “gathered” in v27:62. From hupo (by, under, under authority of) + ago (see note S above)
FF “can” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
GG “sealing” = sphragizo. 15x in NT. From sphragis (a seal, signet, or signet ring; also the impression of that seal; so, the thing attested to by that seal – proof or a signifier of privacy); perhaps from phrasso (to stop, fence in). Properly, this is sealing something with some kind of stamp that tells who the owner is, gives it authorization or validity. It shows that the owner lends their full authority or backing to the matter in question. This was the ancient world’s equivalent of a signature on a legal document to guarantee the commitments made in the document. There were also tattoos that were given to show who someone belonged to in a religious sense.

Image Credit: “The Transport of Christ to the Sepulcher” by Antonio Ciseri, from 1864-1870.

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