Holy Week: Saturday
Matthew 27:62-66, Luke 23:56b
“On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56b).
On the Sabbath they knew there was nothing else they could do. They were still in shock but trying to come to and wrap their minds around the fact Jesus was dead.
On the Sabbath they remembered how they had failed to stand up for Jesus, and Peter was probably really feeling himself by this point because he knew that while he saved his own life by denying Jesus, it didn’t save Jesus from dying.
On the Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They remembered Jesus’ words, “After three days I will rise” (Matthew 27:63). They were scared that the disciples would try and stage something — but more so that were scared of what they’d seen and felt as Jesus died on the cross, scared that maybe they had been wrong the entire time, scared that Jesus was who he claimed to be — and they didn’t want to be on the losing side of this if they could help it because that would make them look bad.
They sealed the stone. They set the guards. They made it as secure as possible.
On the Sabbath, they knew Jesus said he would be raised again on the third day, but this was day two. What was supposed to happen on day two? Were they supposed to sit vigil by his tomb in case anything happened? Were they supposed to observe the Sabbath and just sit around and wait? What were they supposed to do when the man they’d followed for three years was GONE?
So now everyone is waiting for the promise to be fulfilled.
So now we are waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. We are waiting for our hearts to no longer be troubled. We feel the pause between “I go to prepare a place for you,” (John 14:2) and “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3).
Will we be like the Pharisees who set watchtowers and safeguards, locking ourselves in our homes so we aren’t caught wanting when he comes to us, or will we take this metaphorical Second Day and take Jesus at his word, believe him when he sends us out in his authority to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observer all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). Will we choose to believe him when he says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)?
Though he is not with us physically, he is with us and within us by his Spirit. Let us too wait with hope for our resurrection.