Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.
Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. – Mark 15:46-16:1
Little is said of what happened on Saturday after Jesus had died. We know his body was taken from the cross before sundown on Friday. Sabbath began at that time, and ran through sundown on Saturday. So we do see that on Saturday evening (after Sabbath ended) the women went and bought spices for Jesus’ burial preparation.
I’m thinking of what the disciples did all day Saturday. Mark 2:19-20 tells us a bit of what they did: Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. During that time of fasting they likely reflected on the events of the previous day. So much had changed so quickly. So many hopes – albeit false hopes – had been dashed. So many plans would now be changed. Life would be different. But for the day they would be silent. No witness of their activity would merit inclusion in the record of Jesus’ life and ministry. Nothing of note was done.
But God was at work…even as Jesus was resting in the tomb. God was sustaining every breath they were taking. God was upholding the universe with the might of his power. God was watching every sparrow fly and every hair on the disciples’ heads was numbered. God was preserving all of creation even as Jesus rested in the tomb.
God was allowing life to go on in preparation for something beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Who would have thought that things would so dramatically change in 24 hours from Thursday to Friday? Who would have thought that an even more dramatic change would be revealed on Sunday morning?
Jesus must have rested in the tomb so we could know he had truly died. Jesus must have rested in the tomb on Saturday so that the women could not completely prepare his body for burial. Jesus rested in the tomb as an echo of God’s work of creation when God rested on the seventh day.
Today is a day of resting in anticipation of what tomorrow will bring. This is true both literally and figuratively. We know tomorrow’s Easter celebration will be different from past celebrations. We won’t be gathering for worship with thousands of others. So much of the normal has been cancelled due to this virus.
Even as we wait, however, we do so in anticipation of a bright and glorious day. That Great Last Day will break and we will experience the fullness of Jesus’ resurrection victory. Come, Lord Jesus!
One Day, because of Jesus’ resurrection the hymn verse will come true:
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of glory passes on his way.
Until then, we wait.