Day 5 – Saturday: Jesus in the Tomb
Read: Matthew 27:57-66
There are not a lot of details in scripture about what happened on Holy Saturday. We do know that Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy disciple of Jesus, had approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. He took the body, washed it and wrapped it in linen death clothes, and laid it in a tomb that had never been used. (Remember the young donkey that had never been ridden?) Matthew also tells us that Joseph rolled the stone in front of the tomb. The Gospel writers tell us that it is the chief priests and Pharisees that once again persuade Pilate to do something that he thought was unnecessary—seal Jesus’ tomb and place a guard by it. It’s fitting that there isn’t a great deal of activity recorded on Holy Saturday, because it was the Sabbath day, and it would have been eerily quiet throughout the city. It is perhaps even redundant to call the day Holy Saturday, since EVERY Saturday Sabbath was to be Holy to the Lord. So it’s ironic, isn’t it, that the Pharisees, who had perpetually criticized Jesus for his Sabbath activities, journey on this Sabbath to speak to their Gentile ruler, and then go about the activity of noisily placing a seal and busily posting a guard on Jesus’ otherwise holy and peaceful tomb!
Poem: The Tomb (by Christi Otiz)
Why is it that the greatest act of Salvation,
the most Glorious example of God’s undying Love for us,
occurred in secret, in the dark, damp, smelly cavern of the tomb?
No one saw this powerful Resurrection,
this conquering of Mercy and Love,
yet millions of people later,
for thousands of years,
would be touched, transformed
by the power of this silent miracle.
So often these great acts of grace are unseen.
We may see the empty tomb,
the vice fallen away,
but most often we don’t see the Invisible Hand
that breaks down obstacles,
rolls away stones,
and raises us from our bindings.
Video: “Sunday’s Coming!” (S.M. Lockridge)
Prayer for Holy Saturday (from The Book of Common Prayer):
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the
crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and
rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the
coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of
life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.