Lenten Devotional // Day 40 Holy Saturday

Saturday, April 16
HOLY SATURDAY by Amy Sanders

Matthew 27:57-66
That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting in front of the tomb.
The next day, which was the day after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that deceiver was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will arise.’ Therefore, order the grave to be sealed until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people, ‘He’s been raised from the dead.’ This last deception will be worse than the first.”
Pilate replied, “You have soldiers for guard duty. Go and make it as secure as you know how.” Then they went and secured the tomb by sealing the stone and posting the guard.

Reflection

Holy Saturday is one of the saddest of days. After the horror and shock of Jesus’ death begins to wear off, the grief starts to set in. How lost, vulnerable, and alone the disciples must have felt. How impossible their mission feels without him.

At this point in the story, it’s tempting to want to skip from the crucifixion straight to the resurrection. The three days “in between” are uncomfortable. Sitting in grief is uncomfortable, but it’s an important part of the story.

It strikes me how generous people can be. The disciple from Arimathea used his wealth to give Jesus the burial that he deserved, not the one the Romans had planned for him.

It strikes me how loyal Mary Magdalene and Mary were, keeping watch over his tomb. Even in their grief, they continue to serve Jesus.

It strikes me how afraid the chief priests and the Pharisees were of Jesus, even after he was dead. So worried that even after PIlate killed their savior, the people of Jerusalem would still find hope in his death.

The same Jesus who inspired his followers to live generous, holy lives during his time on earth continued to inspire them from the grave. He struck fear in the hearts of the wicked even after they thought he was gone forever. The wealthy disciple, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the chief priests, and the Pharisees didn’t have the benefit of knowing that he would rise from the grave on the third day, but we do, and that makes sitting through the grief of the “in between” a little easier.

Question for Contemplation
Although it is tempting to want to skip from our hardships straight to redemption, what lessons can we learn during the time “in between”?

Prayer
God, you never promised us that following you would exempt us from pain and hardship. But you do promise us an abundant life on earth and an eternal life on the other side. We are thankful that you sent Jesus and your Holy Spirit to be with us during the “in between.” Amen.

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