The Day They Rested
The day after the crucifixion must have come with some pain for those who followed Jesus. After all, they just witnessed the pain and suffering of one of their most dearly love friends and teacher. Matthew 27 tell us that on this day the officials ordered extra soldiers to guard the tomb in fear that the disciples would steal His body. Luke’s gospel gives us a look at what the disciples did on this day. Luke 23:56, “Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” It was customary for Jewish people to observe the Sabbath on Saturday, and to keep from breaking the Sabbath the disciples followed suit.
In our social distancing we have had a lot of time to sit and reflect, much like the disciples probably did on this day. Their emotions would have been high, their concerns real, and uncertainty on the horizon. Uncertain what tomorrow would bring, uncertain if persecution would follow, but certain they witnessed their Rabi crucified like a criminal.
Today, we are uncertain what next week will look like. In reality, we are not promised tomorrow. Uncertainty is everywhere around us and rampant in a global pandemic. When will we be back in church? When will we go back to school? When will we be able to take our family to movies, a concert, or on vacation? The honest answer is we don’t know. We don’t know what tomorrow brings or what lies ahead, but today, we do know with confidence what happened after the Sabbath.
The next day the disciples would be “perplexed” as Matthew stated when they encountered two messengers in dazzling clothes. Matthew 24:6-7 states, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
I write today with joy and delight in hearing these words once again. Unlike the disciples, we know how the story unfolds. The stone rolled away to reveal the Son of God has defeated the grave. As He foretold, the Son of Man is ALIVE! Today we can live in the midst of the unknown because of the known. Jesus rose from the dead to bring us from death to life. John 17:3 revealed this; "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Did you hear the good news in that verse? We may know God! Sinful, unworthy, wretched man may know the author of life and creation. Totally undeserving because of our sin and shame, yet freely offered the gift of life. Easter 2020 is not about the unknown of Covid-19. Easter 2020 is about what is known in God’s word.
Philippians 1:6 says this “ For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” You were not saved by accident or after thought. With full confidence this Easter, we know the work that the cross started in our lives will be completed by our sovereign God. Find your hope in the known this Easter! Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, buried in a borrowed tomb, was raised from the dead, reigns in heaven, and is at work in our lives today. At work even in a pandemic!