Lesson 99: John 19:38-42 – White Castle Cravings

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 99 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



Some people crave White Castle burgers, but Joseph “craved” the opportunity to serve the Lord by giving Him a decent burial after the indignities of the cross (v.38 cf.Mark 15:43). Do you too think about serving the Lord and say, “I just gotta have it!”? If not, you’re probably not motivating yourself like Paul motivated the Galatians, by reminding them of the cross (Gal.3:1). It’s called grace motivation, and it is the only thing that works in this dispensation.

We actually have more motivation than Joseph, for he just saw what they did to the Lord. We know what the cross procured for us! Some pastors try to motivate people to serve the Lord by preaching messages about the gory details of crucifixion. We are motivated by studying the spiritual blessings the cross bought for us (IICor.5:14)!

Joseph was a “counselor” (Mark 15:43). Before the cross, he probably advised men to be like him, a secret follower of the Lord. After the cross, he probably advised men to take a stand for Him and serve Him, as he was doing! That’s still good advice!

Joseph was “rich” (Jo.19:38), fulfilling Isaiah 53:9. In giving his tomb to the Lord, he was a good example of anyone who gives their riches to the Lord—he got them back three days later! Of course, in this dispensation, God doesn’t pay us back in this life, but in the next (IITim.2:12).

We don’t wait for the kingdom of God on earth, as Joseph did (Lu.23:50,51), but we wait for the kingdom in heaven. If you want to know how to wait “patiently” (IITh.3:5), it is by serving the Lord as Joseph did!

Pilate “marveled” He was already dead (Mark 15:44) be-cause he’d sentenced many wimps to the cross who died quickly, and he could see the Lord was no wimp. In the 60s it was said He was “effeminate,” but we know He wasn’t because that’s a sin (ICor.6:9) that leads to men being “abusers of themselves with mankind” (ICor.6:9). They also accused the Lord of this sin, since he never married and hung out with 12 men. But Pilate’s surprise that He died so quickly proves He was not effeminate.

Before Pilate “gave leave” for Joseph to take the Lord’s body (Jo.19:38), he made sure He was dead (Mark 15:44,45). He’d been asked to release bodies in the past before men were dead! His release proves the Lord hadn’t just fainted, as men claim today to deny His resurrection.

You’d think the Lord’s brutal murder would push Joseph further back into the closet, but instead it caused this closet believer to come out. But persecution made Paul’s helpers courageous and “bold” (Phil.1:14), just as it made Joseph (Mark 15:43). It’s okay to lament when you hear of ISIS killing Christians (cf. Acts 8:2), but then thank God, for this only spurs men on to preach Christ. Let it spur you on!

Nicodemus also came out that day (Jo.19:39). He came to the Lord “by night” (Jo.3:2), later defended the Lord (7:50-52), but the cross made him own Him as his own. He’s an example of Matthew 20:16, the last to follow Him, but rewarded with salvation equally with those who believed early (Mt.20:1-16). 11th hour conversions still save equally today! Joseph is another example. Since Joseph was rich, we know he hadn’t sold all he had as the apostles had at first (Mt.19:27-29), but once he believed on Christ, he was more saved than Judas, who was now “last” (Mt.19:30).

They “wound” the Lord like a mummy (Jo.19:40), as Mary had (Lu.2:7), a type of how He was born to die. The wise men’s frankincense proved He was born to be a priest (Ex.30:30-34), as did the “linen” (Jo.19:40 cf. Ex.28:1-5; Ezek.44:15-18). Linen was also associated with kings (IISam.6:14). If you’re wondering why kings couldn’t be priests (ISam.13:9-14), ask the martyrs what happened when Rome was the civil power on earth. Religious men can’t be trusted to rule until Christ comes (Zech.6:13).

They laid the Lord in a new tomb to prevent the Jews from claiming He didn’t rise because He was God’s Son (cf.IIKi. 13:21), and to fulfill the type of the red heifer in not bury-ing him a place made unclean by dead bodies (Num.19:9).

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