Acts 13:28 (KJV) 28 And though they found no cause of death [in him], yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.

Acts 13:29 (KJV) 29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took [him] down from the tree, and laid [him] in a sepulchre.

I ask this question because it sounds as if the enemies of Jesus are the ones who buried him. Is this passage claiming that 'they' is the same coterie of Jews who condemned him to death?


3 Answers 3


Paul is not affirming that the people who put Jesus to death and those who brought him off the tree were one and the same; he is merely stating that both parties were made up of Jewish individuals.

Remember John 19:38-40 (NASB) which tells us exactly who "brought Jesus off the tree."

38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

Both Joseph of Arimathea (see Mark15:43) and Nicodemus (John 3:1) were part of the council of rulers at the time. Both, of course, were Jewish men.

The context of Acts 13, then, gives us insight as to why Paul is speaking in this way, and that is to communicate the history and actions that led to this moment to his listeners, which consisted of both Jew and Gentile peoples.

Further context clues are found in Acts 13:46-48:

45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

“‘I have made you[f] a light for the Gentiles, that you[g] may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’[h]”

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

Thus, when we consider the historical context and audience of the passage, we can come to the conclusion that Paul was not connecting anyone but the Jewish people, as a whole, as being those involved in the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ.


Paul is clearly contradicting Mark and John, if we read the passage, he is saying that Pilate and Jews laid Jesus in the tomb after they punished him, whereas John and Mark say the opposite (Jospeh). So we should not use John and Mark to reconcile Acts 13:28-29... Paul was talking about Pilate and the Jews who punished Jesus, not Joseph, he (Joseph) was not one of those who punished him (Jesus).Paul didn't even mention Joseph in the passage. If two verses oppose one another, you cannot use one of them to correct the other verse since they go against one another..

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Q. Who is 'they' in Acts 13:28,29?

A. Jerusalemites and the Roman government:

[Act 13:26-30 NASB95] [26] "Brethren, sons of Abraham's family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. [27] "For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled [these] by condemning [Him.] [28] "And though they found no ground for [putting Him to] death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. [29] "When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. [30] "But God raised Him from the dead;

In the NT, Jerusalemites were the "vessel for wrath":

[Luk 13:33 NASB95] [33] "Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next [day;] for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.

One large importance of Christ's death was to ensure the utter destruction of Judaism:

[Mat 23:1-39 NASB95] [1] Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, [2] saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; [3] therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say [things] and do not do [them.] [4] "They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with [so much as] a finger. [5] "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels [of their garments.] [6] "They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, [7] and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. [8] "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. [9] "Do not call [anyone] on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. [10] "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, [that is,] Christ. [11] "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. [12] "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. [13] "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. [14] ["Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.] [15] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. [16] "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, [that] is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.' [17] "You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? [18] "And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, [that] is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.' [19] "You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? [20] "Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears [both] by the altar and by everything on it. [21] "And whoever swears by the temple, swears [both] by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. [22] "And whoever swears by heaven, swears [both] by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it. [23] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. [24] "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! [25] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. [26] "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. [27] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. [28] "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. [29] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, [30] and say, 'If we had been [living] in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in [shedding] the blood of the prophets.' [31] "So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. [32] "Fill up, then, the measure [of the guilt] of your fathers. [33] "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? [34] "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, [35] so that upon you may fall [the guilt of] all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. [36] "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. [37] "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. [38] "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! [39] "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'"

Jesus' followers are exempt from any blame.

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