Dead and Healing

Good Friday is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar.  By 9:00 a.m., Christ was crucified.

Jesus’ crucified body died about 3:00 p.m. on Friday. At about 6:00 p.m. on Friday, the Sabbath began. No work was allowed on the Sabbath, including burying a dead body. Jesus’ followers had about three hours between the time he died and the start of the Sabbath celebration to bury him.

Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. After confirming that Jesus was dead, Pilate released Jesus’ body to Joseph. Along with Nicodemus, Joseph took Jesus’ body from the cross. The two men wrapped Jesus’ body in linen stripes and mixed aloe and myrrh. The Jewish burial custom of using spices in burial linens was associated with covering the smell of the decaying body.  Because aloe had little odor, possibly aloes were used to “fix” or hold the scent of the myrrh. Alternatively, the stickiness of the aloes could have held the linen to the dead body.

Aloe vera


The aloe of the New Testament is the Aloe vera, the common aloe). When aloe is harvested for its medicinal gel, older leaves are harvested as they are larger and contain more gel.

Traditionally, aloe has been associated with healing.  Jesus’ body was dead; therefore, aloes weren’t used to heal him. The healing aloes in Jesus’ burial cloth exemplified Jesus’ continued healing of us even after his physical death.

After Jesus’ resurrection, some individuals in Judea and the Roman Empire accepted healing from Jesus. Other individuals weren’t willing to be healed. Some couldn’t comprehend that a man would die for their sins. Others simply didn’t believe that they were all that bad. Why would someone need to die for their few sins? For still others, it was easier to continue their same religious observances, e.g., make an animal sacrifice or give a little money into a treasury, than to accept a new way of thinking.

Reflection: How are rationales and rationalizations that individuals used 2,000 years ago for not accepting healing from Jesus the same ones that individuals use today?



13 responses to “Dead and Healing”

  1. I have been thinking of these opinions ..things I questioned ..not knowing so many others were thinking alike .would really like the truth. If the aloe and myrrh healed the body or brought the body back to life .. these questions more than answers .

    1. Carlos, appreciate your feedback. God wants us to ponder his words.

  2. It seems a moot point as to whether the spices were used for embalming or not. There is so much evidence that Jesus died and was resurrected on the third day in scriptures and was seen by many intimates of Jesus including some of His disciples. Many saw Him rising to heaven including the disciples. There is prophesy in the Old Testament of what happened at His death the resurrection. Unless you are new to the bible and Christianity the evidence is so overwhelming in scripture I can’t imagine needing to confirm this information with a pastor.

  3. Greetings to everyone,
    I just wander why some Jewish traditions similar to Egyptian traditions as well as Gypsy traditions ……
    In ancient Egypt people used aloe for embalming the dead body as well as Jewish (not Christian because at Jesus time there were No Christians…)
    ” In ancient Egypt along with embalming the dead, aloe would be given as a gift to the deceased pharaohs at their funeral ceremonies. A man’s wealth and esteem for the pharaoh were shown by the amount of aloe, in pounds, that he brought as an offering.”

    In Egyptian cemeteries at nowadays aloe plants planted everywhere for Muslim and Christian people…..And when gypsy man die , other gypsies plant a “thorn plant” like blackberry bush on his grave …and in jewish cemetery people plant aloe plant…..
    Why all these similarities ??? Are Jewish, Egyptian and Gypsy the same people ???

    1. Magdi, I am not sure why Gypsy traditions are similar to Jewish and Egyptian burial traditions; however, I believe the geographical closeness and trade, communications between Egypt and Israel caused some overlap in behavior and traditions. Also, Israel lived in Egypt 450 years and brought some of the Egyptian traditions to Israel. I wonder if the similarity in Gypsy traditions are related to like the Bedouins (who live in the middle east and have these same traditions) the gypsies have traveled widely perhaps even into Asia Minor.

  4. Robert Patridge Avatar
    Robert Patridge

    We find in Mark and Luke Mary prepares spices to bring to Jesus’
    tomb; I wonder if you know what spices she prepared?

    1. Robert, I do not know for sure. My guess is myrrh, frankinsence, nardium, as all cover the smell of decaying body. Jews did not embalm a body.

  5. The swoon theory is the most ridiculous theory to explain away the resurrection when u understand that the Romans were efficient when they crucified and killed people. When u consider the emotional strain Jesus endured the night before while on trial, the brutal beating he absorbed that often killed people, and the crucifixion itself, there is no way he survived this whole ordeal. He went into the tomb dead as a door nail! Furthermore, while on the cross, they pierced his side with a sword to insure he was dead; blood and water emerged, which confirmed he was dead. Pilate was surprised he died so quickly (Mark 15:44). What the skeptics, who suppress the truth, would have us believe is that rather than rising from the dead, Jesus never died but was revived in the tomb with the spices. He emerged from the tomb and declared himself to be the risen Savior thereby deceiving the multitudes and all followers today. Please. If this were true, and its not, He would have needed immediate medical attention because the amount of blood loss would have killed him, the holes in his writs and feet would have need time to heal. Also, he could not have roled away the stone himself, being in a weak condition, so the disciples would have had to get past the Roman guards and break him out of the tomb and declared him risen. Hardly sounds like a risen, victorious Savior to me. Also, all the disciples, minus John, died Martyrs death’s for a willful lie?? The N.T. says He is risen, and will either be your judge or your Savior
    Paul said in Romans 10:9-10
    9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

  6. Hi, there is a group of people out there who believed that Jesus survived the crucifixion, did NOT die on the cross, Joseph etc. knew of it and they used the aloe and myrrh to help Him recover more quickly from His wounds, so that He may escape (to Pakistan). Would you be able to enlighten us as to whether this claim is reasonable?

    1. Rykel, I have heard this idea also. I sent my Pastor an Email and asked him if he knew the name of the group. Will get back to you because now I am also wondering.

      1. Rykel, here is the answer that I received from my Pastor, “Yes, Islam teaches that Christ was crucified on the cross but did not actually die. He simply passed out and after being removed from the cross, He went on with His life on earth.”
        Also about 40 years today a Jewish scholar by the name of Hugh J. Schonfield authored a book “The Passover Plot.” The book’s thesis was that Christ’s death on the cross was a giant hoax perpetuated by his disciples. Christ did not really die on the cross.
        That is about all I know on the topic. Blessings, Carolyn

        They call it the “swoon theory,” as you rightly say.

      2. Hi Carolyn,

        1. To be exact, the group is called the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. However, certainly unfortunately, they have been condemned and even assaulted by the “mainstream” Sunni and Shia Muslim communities as heretics. There are Youtube videos of how Sunni Muslims in Indonesia beat an Ahmadi Muslim alive and burnt down their places of worship. Ahmadis believe in the “swoon theory” indeed. Incidentally, it was an Ahmadi who mentioned “God as a gardener” which led me to your site! He was trying to say that the herbs were meant for healing, rather than burial items. :)

        2. Nevertheless, regardless of who propagates the idea, whether a Jewish author or a Muslim sect, the argument still goes like this – that Joseph and Nicodemus somehow “knew” that Jesus was not dead, and decided to use 75~100 lbs of myrrh and aloes on Him to help Him recover from His wounds quickly… after which He left for Kashmir/Pakistan.

        According to the New Testament, however, the herbs were part of the Jewish burial customs at that time. According to modern day Jews, the only thing they do use in burial is water. Of course, just because Jews today do not wrap aloe and myrrh with the dead does not mean that they did not do it back then. Thus, it is important for us to ascertain that indeed, aloe and myrrh were part of Jewish/Roman/Greek burial rituals 2000 years ago.

        So, the main question remains – WHY did they use the aloe and myrrh on Jesus’ body – if it was not a Jewish/Roman/Greek custom?

        I hope that someone reading this, or perhaps your pastor, would be able to conclusively refute the swoon theory, and idea that the aloe and myrrh were part of a conspiracy theory to revive a wounded but living Jesus. After all, if Jesus did not die, then our entire faith is in vain, says St Paul.

        p/s. It was also not likely to be a form of embalming, since Jews do NOT embalm, to the best of my knowledge. The cases of Joseph and one other OT saint were exceptions rather than the norm. So, if the aloes and myrrh were to have been embalming materials, then we need to provide some logic, reasoning or rationale as to prove that they had indeed wanted to embalm Jesus.

  7. I love the choice of message. It makes so much sense.

    I’m surprised how much blooming aloe looks like Kniphofia flowers. I’ll have to look and see how closely they are related.

    Myrrh is one of my favorite fragrances and I usually wear it on Good Friday as a constant reminder of Christ in the tomb. It’s supposed to activate certain glands in the body that bring on a meditative state, so it’s appropriate in that sense too.

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