Chapter 7 Explanation of Scriptures

"He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus" (Luke 23:52, written on 2 January 1844).

1. Here again, you have the free choice to quote such a central sun from the book of life; and so, choose a text!

2. "He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus."

3. You have the text; but I cannot help it if you choose texts that fit right on our agenda!

4. Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of the Lord, which was also given to him by Pilate.

5. This Joseph of Arimathea was a friend of Nicodemus, and did so more in the good name of his friend than in his own. For Nicodemus was a great secret worshiper of Christ, but he dared not do something quite obviously, for a certain fear of the chief priests and Pharisees; so he transferred this to his friend, who was also a great friend of Christ, but in secret. This brief prognostic is necessary to make the following clearer.

6. So how does this text, and even this little event, fit in with our cause?

7. Imagine yourselves under 'Nicodemus', the hidden love of the Lord; but under 'Joseph of Arimathea', imagine the faith in the Lord!

8. What is the belief in relation to love? - He is the handyman! So also, Joseph of Arimathea was a handyman here of the secretive Christ-loving Nicodemus.

9. What did the faith demand of Pilate? He demanded the corpse of the Lord, and when he had taken it from the cross, wrapped it in white linen, after anointing the body with delicious spices, and then laid it in a fresh rock-tomb in his own garden, in which grave still no one was laid.

10. What does all this signify? All this signifies the curiosity of faith in its satisfaction. This noble curiosity seeks everything imaginable in order to find a living satisfaction in it.

11. It goes to Pilate and asks permission; that says so much as: Such curiosity goes to the world and seeks in it everything possible, which could serve to confirm the truth.

12. If it has received from the world everything it sought, then it turns to the crucified One. But how? It seeks to put all words and explanations into the light, and then to free it from the mysterious apparent contradictions that appear in the Holy Scriptures.

13. This is enough for him too; it has properly freed the corpse from the cross, which in its form is just a contradiction. But what does he, this noble curiosity, now have before him? - See, a dead corpse in which there is no life!

14. This noble curiosity also sees that; but it is still pleased with this happy deliverance from the cross. He anoints the corpse with delicious spices, wraps it in white linen, and then places it in a new grave in which no one has ever laid.

15. What does that mean? Through such a thorough illumination of the Word in the Holy Scriptures, the Godhead is infallibly recognized, and thus respected and honored. That is the anointing. For it is not uncommon for someone to express himself in the most exalted terms about the Dignity and Divine sovereignty of Scripture; but all this is the anointing of the corpse.

16. Man, with this noble curiosity, entwines such recognized truth with the highest and purest respect, - yes, he shudders at the greatness of wisdom in this book; and that is none other than wrapping the corpse in white linen. How innocent and pure in and of themselves such linens are; so too is an equal humble realization; but the corpse, the ointment, like the linen, are not alive and give no life.

17. But now they will put this corpse in a new grave. What is that? The knowledge that man has made his own, according to his noble curiosity, gives him no life, no living conviction; therefore he gathers them all together and places them in the grave of his deeper understanding, laying a stone over it, which says as much as: he puts a very grave doubt on all these purely recognized truths; for he says, "All these solutions to the hidden secrets in the Scriptures may well be heard exceedingly well; but they still do not give the clear conviction!"

18. And look, that is the literal state of every reader! He can understand all that he has read so well, from the natural to the innermost spiritual sense; But if he wants an actual sample of all that is known, he learns that not even a sunbeam bows before his will! And if he wants to see the life of the spirit, then instead of that, he always encounters the night of the grave into which he has laid the corpse; or in other words: he does not get any self-evident certainty about the hereafter, but everything is a diction (unsubstantiated assertion) in him and no longer a corpse in the grave.

19. But what did it help him? If he has read so much, but cannot attain to any living conviction through all that has been read, he continually resembles Joseph of Arimathea, who probably removes one corpse after the other from the cross, and anoints it and wraps it in white linen. - but the corpse remains a corpse and is always carried to the grave.

20. Let's look at our Magdalena again! She has indeed attended all this action; but she did not wrap the corpse or the word in linen, and laid it not in the grave, but in her loving heart; and when she came to the grave, the stone of doubt was swept away by the power of love. The linens laid well arranged in the tomb, which says: her love has lively arranged the Divine word in her. She no longer found a corpse; but for that she found the Living, Who rose from the grave.

21. What is better: to put the corpse in the grave – or to find the Living outside the grave? - I mean, obviously the second will be better than the first.

22. But why did Magdalene find what Joseph of Arimathea did not find? - Because she has read little but loved a lot; Joseph from Arimathea, however, has read a lot - like Nicodemus, but loved less. Therefore, he had to do with the corpse, but Mary Magdalene with the Living!

23. I think that will be clear too; but in the near future, yet again, a central sun!

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