57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.
59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
COME NEAR TO GOD
Saturday. The Sabbath. Jesus Christ is buried, vanquished to death on the cross by an shameful series of betrayal, weak and jealous leadership, false trial, public scorn and, ultimately, the weight of all humankind’s sin. As we often sing:
Ah, holy Jesus, how have you offended, that mortal judgment has on you descended? By foes derided, by your own rejected, O most afflicted!
As Joseph of Arimathea places the body of Jesus in his tomb, he seals its entrance with a big stone as appointed guards look on. We can, perhaps, imagine and feel the sense of finality of the situation.
There is no doubt, as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary look on, Jesus Christ is dead.
Every memory and moment the remaining disciples had experienced in their three years of training with Jesus has been replaced with tears of sorrow, the cry of broken dreams, a devastating weight of hopelessness, an immobilizing sense of fear and the question of "what next?" (Luke 24:21).
As Andrew Dickinson puts it, “ In the intensity of the events of Good Friday and in the impatience of having to be still on the Sabbath, Sunday and all that Jesus ever spoke of regarding this idea of a three day temple rebuild (John. 2:19) and resurrection seems far off.“
What we all need to remember is that on this day that we call Holy Saturday, God is in the story working something incredible out. He is creating something those first disciples could not quite imagine but we can see on this day for ourselves. Out of all the tears and pain, crying, fear and hopelessness, we can, through the events of Good Friday, know and enjoy entry into the presence of God.
Sometimes it seems like God has left us, like He’s forgotten about the promises in His Word. The silence of unanswered prayers and the burdens of life can bear down on us, leading to loneliness and fear. In those moments the world seems unbearably quiet and our hope, like that of the disciples, is dim. I wonder if Holy Saturday is meant to remind us that God’s silence is just Him waiting for the right time, that he is working in ways we cannot see. What if all His promises are still trustworthy? What if He’s still acting for our good, even though it seems like circumstances are against us? What if the sun is about to break through those dark clouds? The GOOD NEWS is we can have hope, because death could not claim Jesus forever. Just like the disciples, we must wait and see what God will do.
As we wait for Sunday, Resurrection Day, let us accept the invitation offered to us to "draw near" (Hebrews 10:19- 22) and to have communion with our God. Because of Jesus, we no longer must settle for a God who is unapproachable. Instead, we can know the close and present reality of the God of the creation, the God of amazing love, in our lives when we open up and offer our hearts to him. God is calling us to come and draw near.
It's Saturday .... But Sunday is Coming!!