2/7/12 In vv. 47-49 four different types of people are represented. And a fifth is represented in Joseph in the next verse.
V. 47, The Centurion: The centurion had been more or less a neutral party. He did executions all the time. He didn’t pass judgment on who was innocent or guilty. He simply trusted the judge with that responsibility. He merely did his job.
When he saw what had happened surrounding Jesus’ death, however, the centurion’s heart changed. He praised God and stated that Jesus had surely been innocent.
V. 48, The Crowds: The crowds had not been so neutral. They had been “drunk” and confused by the religious leaders. They had been caught up in the moment and mob mentality.
When they saw everything surrounding Jesus’ death they were silenced, guilty, even distressed. Beating their breasts is a sign of lament. They had done something very wrong and felt it.
V. 49, Jesus’ Acquaintances: Those that had known Jesus had not participated in the proceedings against Jesus either in His prosecution or His defense. They just stood at a distance watching. They didn’t know what to do. They were grief stricken, confused, stunned, and also afraid that their connection with Jesus could bring them to a similar fate.
Women who Followed Him: The women who had followed Him were in a different category. Like those who knew Jesus they were also grief stricken, confused, stunned, but probably not as afraid as His disciples were. They were more bold, it seems, being unafraid to be connected with Jesus, as we see later with the embalming and coming to the tomb on Sunday morning.
V. 50, Joseph of Arimathea: Joseph was not neutral, though until then he had been secretive concerning his opinion of Jesus. Now Joseph came boldly out in support of Jesus. The very events that caused Jesus’ disciples to fear their connection to Jesus made Joseph unafraid of connecting himself to Jesus. He was, as Luke states, a good and righteous man.
V. 51, He had not agreed with the religious leaders’ plans and actions concerning Jesus.
V. 52, He boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus to be turned over to his care, which Pilate granted.
V. 53, He took Jesus down from the cross, wrapped His body in linen and placed it in a tomb where no one had been buried. It was his own tomb, we know from the other gospels.
V. 54-56, It was Friday and the Sabbath hours were quickly approaching. So the women, seeing where Jesus had been laid, hurriedly brought spices and perfumes for the body, but soon had to quit in order to be ready for Sabbath rest.