The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate.

They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Matt. 27:62-64 (NLT)

Lord Jesus, your family and followers probably slept very little the night of Good Friday. We can only imagine the depth of sadness that seized their hearts. But others were relieved, that you, “the deceiver,” could no longer threaten the religious status quo or the political agenda of Rome.

As the sun rose on Saturday, no one realized the most undeserved death imaginable would yield the greatest return calculable. When you were nailed to the cross, God’s Law lost its demanding and condemning power over us. And with your last breath, you disarmed the powers of darkness, triumphing over all authorities marshaled against God’s kingdom (Col. 2:14-15).

No one realized your mortal punishment would bring our eternal peace—that your fatal wounding would secure our everlasting healing; and that your being crushed under God’s judgment would lead to our being cherished by the God of all grace (Isa. 53). Though the priests and Pharisees had the Scriptures, they had no clue.

Yet they did remember your promise of resurrection. They weren’t saddened about your death; they were fearful of your life. Having failed to put to death a resurrected Lazarus (John 12:10), they weren’t about to indulge a resurrected Jesus.

O silly, sinful men—they’d sooner hold back the rising of the sun than the rising of the Son of God. 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!” Hallelujah, everything was about to change. So very Amen we pray, in your triumphant and loving name.