“Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make the tomb as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.” Matthew 27: 65-66
Yesterday was certainly not a traditional Good Friday. I missed the somber service where everyone departs in silence. I missed the emotional cross walk through the busy downtown streets of our community.
Instead, everyone is sheltered. The streets are empty and silent. We are sequestered in our homes, separated from family and friends. Uncertainty, fear and unease abound.
Max Lucado shared a message last night broadcast worldwide. He said we always focus on the events of Good Friday and of Easter Sunday, rightfully so. But what about Saturday?
Nothing happened on Saturday after the crucifixion. It was the Jewish sabbath.
We don’t understand this in our culture. When I was in Israel a few years ago, the significance of the Sabbath was more evident. We were told to avoid using the “shabbat” elevators in the hotel. These were designated for the Jewish people who still acknowledge the Sabbath. These elevators would stop on each floor of the hotel so that Jews would be able to get on and off without pressing the floor button. Even this was considered “work” which isn’t allowed on the Sabbath.
So back to Holy Saturday. The streets would have been silent and deserted. People would have been sequestered in their homes.
The disciples and followers of Jesus would have been afraid and uneasy about their future and certainly confused about what to believe now that Jesus, whom they thought was the Messiah, was dead.
Where was God? This couldn’t possibly have been the plan of redemption.
It was Silent Saturday.
And then came Sunday and everything changed. Saturday was forgotten! The tomb was opened! The angels were inside to greet Mary and the disciples!
Jesus was ALIVE!
In these days of quarantine and uncertainty and anxiety, let us all remember that first Silent Saturday. God was silent but He wasn’t absent. He was at work defeating Satan and death and sin and locking the gates of hell for His children.
Let’s take this time of separation to grow closer to Jesus, to deepen our relationship with Him and to affirm that, while things are happening all around us that we don’t understand and can’t control, God is still at work. The tomb is still empty. Jesus is still alive.
Lord Jesus thank you. Those words don’t begin to express the gratitude we feel for Your great love and sacrifice for us. Help us in these times of uncertainty and anxiety to cling to You and the hope that You claimed for us by suffering, dying and rising to defeat Satan and death so we may be confident in Your love and plans for us for eternity. In Your Holy risen name we pray. Amen.