The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” Matt. 27:62-64
Dear Lord Jesus, as Good Friday gave way to silent Saturday, the range of emotions following your crucifixion was as broad as the Grand Canyon. I can only imagine the degree of shock, and the depth of sadness, which filled the hearts of your disciples, family, and friends. And yet, there were also many filled with glee and relief, that you, “the deceiver,” could no longer threaten their existence.
As the sun rose on Saturday, no one could have possibly understood that the most undeserved death imaginable would yield the greatest return calculable. As you were nailed to the cross, the written code—God’s law, with all its regulations and requirements, was taken away from us—losing all its condemning power over us. As you drew your last breath, you were actually disarming the powers of darkness and triumphing over all authorities marshaled against the reign of God (Col. 2:14-15).
No one yet grasped that your mortal punishment would bring our eternal peace, that your fatal wounding would secure our everlasting healing, and that your being crushed would lead to our being cherished by the thrice-holy God (Isa. 53). Though they had the Scriptures, they had no clue.
And yet the chief priests and the Pharisees did remember your promise of resurrection. They weren’t sad about your death; they were mad with fear about the possibility of your life. Having already plotted to put to death a resurrected Lazarus, they weren’t about to indulge a resurrected Jesus.
Oh foolish, silly, sinful men—they could sooner hold back the rising of the sun than the rising of the Son of Man, the Son of God, God the Son! Resurrection Sunday was coming, and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it. The silence of Saturday would soon be shattered with the shouts of Sunday: “The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Jesus, continue to astonish and nourish our hearts with the whole Easter story and the full glory of who you are and everything you have done. So very Amen I pray, in your triumphant and loving name.