What does John 19:40 mean?
ESV: So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
NIV: Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.
NASB: So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
CSB: They took Jesus's body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the fragrant spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews.
NLT: Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.
KJV: Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
Verse Commentary:
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are two members of the Jewish religious council (Luke 23:50–51; John 3:1–2) who are open to Christ's teachings. With little time to prepare (John 19:31), they work together to hastily bury Jesus. Fortunately, Joseph's own personal crypt is nearby (John 19:41). Nicodemus has brought along the proper burial spices (John 19:39) and Joseph arranged with the Roman governor to take Jesus' body (John 19:38).

Wrapping a corpse in cloth was a way to keep the balms in contact with the body and discourage flies and insects. When Lazarus was resurrected by Christ (John 11:43–44), he had to be untied from these grave cloths. In contrast, when Peter and John come to investigate this same tomb, the strips of cloth will be lying there, empty (John 20:1–8).

Jesus' earthly ministry did not involve great wealth. In fact, Jesus had very little in the way of possessions during His time of active teaching and preaching (Matthew 8:20). Joseph's burial site is lavish (Matthew 27:59), fulfilling yet another prophecy about Messiah's death (Isaiah 53:9).
Verse Context:
John 19:38–42 describes Jesus' hasty burial. A member of the Jewish leadership and secret follower of Jesus, Joseph, gets permission to bury Jesus. He works with Nicodemus, who has also been secretive about his faith. They quickly wrap Jesus in grave cloths and place Him in a borrowed tomb. Parallel passages are Matthew 27:57–61, Mark 15:42–47, and Luke 23:50–56.
Chapter Summary:
Pilate recognizes Jesus' innocence, but fears the mob assembled by Jewish religious leaders. He attempts to satisfy them by having Jesus viciously whipped and mocked. This only results in more cries for Jesus' death. The governor then shifts to protect his own reputation, ordering Jesus to be crucified on a charge of being "King of the Jews." John is directly present as Jesus is executed. He notes the fulfillment of several prophecies as Jesus dies. Once He is confirmed to be dead, Jesus' body is taken by two friendly members of the ruling council. They hastily bury Him in the borrowed crypt of a rich man.
Chapter Context:
When Jesus was first brought to Pilate, His innocence was obvious (John 18:36–38). However, the mob refuses to be satisfied with anything less than crucifixion. Pilate gives in to these demands. John, who is present for the entire gory spectacle, notes several instances of fulfilled prophecy (Psalm 22:18; Psalm 69:21; Exodus 12:46; Zechariah 12:10). Jesus is then buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9) to complete yet another Old Testament prediction. A guard will be posted to ensure no one steals the body (Matthew 27:62–68), which will only serve to confirm that Jesus' eventual resurrection was a true miracle (John 20:1–8).
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 4/13/2024 9:36:11 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.