Food for Thought
The day after Jesus' crucifixion (the Saturday before Easter) is one of those interesting, yet unrecorded days in biblical history. If you look at the Gospels, they each give about one verse to what was going on in the world of the Jews: they were "resting." Whether it was due to traditional obligation or genuine obedience, the majority of people took this day off because of the Sabbath law.
Saturday was one of complete silence.
There seems to be no movement; no advancement; no hope. But what screams out for our full attention are the teachable truths found in the moments before the Sabbath began.
You see, Good Friday - though being the day of Jesus' death - is also known in Jewish tradition as the "Day of Preparation." This was important because it was the last day for the Jews to collect their needed supplies before taking the next day off.
So even though Jesus just died, the Jewish tradition demanded for the world to keep moving.
This is why the Jews wanted to rush the removal of Jesus’ body. They had things to do and people to see. And they definitely did not want His body on display during the Lord's Day.
But all while everyone - even the Lord's disciples - carried on with their ’needed’ prep, two very unexpected people were boldly making other preparations.
We know Nicodemus from his secret (and interesting) conversation with Jesus in John 3. But all that we know about Joseph is that he was a timid and fearful follower of Jesus who cared more about remaining safe from the Jews' disapproval than being a bold disciple.
But here, both their silence and their fear seem to vanish.
We see Joseph approaching Pilate to boldly ask for Jesus’ body. Being a man of stature and influence, he was able to quickly receive this request. But think about this:
If it wasn't for Joseph, the Lord's body would have been treated like that of a murderer- just thrown into a pile of corpses.
But instead, Joseph is seen delicately removing Jesus from His cross, cleaning off His bloody body, prepping it for burial, and carrying Him to a nearby tomb - a tomb that Matthew states is Joseph's own property.
He takes his day of preparation and boldly focuses it on his Lord. But he is not alone. Nicodemus also decides to make his adoration for Jesus known by bringing expensive spices to aide in the burial process.
Yet, it was because of their preparations - and bold obedience - that the Lord's body was also ready for the day of rest. The silence of Saturday - though seemingly despairing - was given a ray of hope because of the complete change in heart that these men expressed.
So then, what was it that changed in the lives of these two?
At the exact moment of His death - at the assumed "triumph" of evil - something severe happens: the veil in temple was torn.
For years, the old covenant reigned.
In this system, a priest would go beyond the veil to make the sacrifice in the presence of the Lord (the ark of the covenant). Before Christ's death, no one but a priest could do this job.
The separation of God and man was visibly seen when looking at the veil: man as fallen and God as perfect. But in an instance, Christ - being the ultimate priest and sacrifice - died, and the dividing wall was torn.
This means that before Jesus' resurrection ever took place, there were already hints of His victory. His sacrifice took the separating and isolating power of sin and destroyed it.
Before glory was ever vividly displayed in the resurrection, Jesus was already working gloriously in the unseen.
The Saturday before Easter teaches us that peace was already at work even though “victory” was not yet fully expressed.
It reminds us that even in the silence, God is powerfully at work.
We all find ourselves in days like Saturday. Where life seems mundane and Jesus seems far. Where failure feels defining and hope appears obsolete. It is in these moments that we must realize that the separating power of sin has been demolished; that Jesus has already given us hints of what will soon become reality. He has already given us a foretaste of glory.
Sunday will come; victory will soon be experienced.
Adapted from a blog written by the team at DeclareGlory.
Being humble does not mean thinking less of yourself,
but thinking of yourself less.
Choices, choices, choices! Every day, all the time, we have to make choices: shall we do this, or that? At what time, when, who with and where? Tea or coffee? Hot or cold? Large or small? Shall we get married? Shall we have children? Where shall we live? Two thousand years ago, because he could see people were not making good choices, Jesus chose to leave the perfection of heaven and come to this imperfect world in order to show us how to live useful and healthy lives. He knew he would face opposition by some sections of society but, because he cared about us so passionately, he came anyway. Down through history, there have always been people who were prepared to risk everything for their beliefs, even to the point of opposing kings and governments. Eventually, Jesus was sent for trial and sentenced to be executed by crucifixion. The Jewish authorities of the day had already chosen to have him put to death - they felt threatened by this man and accused him of blasphemy when he hinted that he was the Son of God, the Messiah for whom they had been waiting many hundreds of years. But they didn’t recognise him and therefore didn’t believe him. Blasphemy was punishable by death. Now Jesus made another choice. He chose to let them nail him to the cross. He didn’t plead for his life or say “You’ve got the wrong bloke”. Why did he choose to die? The Bible says it was because he knew he would have such joy later on. By dying, he would make the way clear for us to go to heaven when we die, and be with him there forever. His one desire was to be with us forever. So, now, along with all our other choices, there is another one - shall we choose to get to know Jesus so we can spend eternity with him?