A Montrose Church Lent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Lent Day 40
Today's reading: Matthew 27:57-66
On Friday, Joseph of Arimathea, a man who had become a disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate to ask permission to take Jesus’ body and give it a proper burial. Permission was granted and Joseph placed the body of Jesus into "his own new tomb that had been cut out of the rock" (v. 59). He then "rolled a big stone in front of the entrance of the tomb and went away" (v. 60). What else was there to do but go away? It was over. In a strange act, however, "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb" (v. 61). I wonder why they did that. Maybe to pray, to mourn, or just to sort through emotions that must have been deep and very painful.
On Saturday, the Jewish elders went to Pilate with a different kind of question. They wanted all the precautions that could be taken, to be taken. They knew that Jesus had said he would rise again after three days (see v. 63), and they wanted to make sure that the tomb would never be empty. They wanted no rumors that Jesus had risen from the dead, and if such rumors surfaced they would go quickly to the tomb, produce the body, and shut down the rumors. So, they stationed soldiers in front of the tomb, put a seal on the tomb, and kept vigil over the grave.
What are you and I to make of what the church has come to call, "Holy Saturday?" Maybe we are called into solitude and silence. I’m sure the disciples of Jesus did not laugh a lot on Saturday. Their world had come to a crashing halt, and they grieved. How do we take this day about which we know so very little, and humble ourselves before God to search our hearts, to seek God’s face, and to find our way? Are you good at being still, embracing solitude, and just listening? I think Holy Saturday is a day of listening, of quieting our busy lives, and of looking straight into the face of questions and pain and wondering. It is a day to reflect on just what happened on Friday and to dream about what might happen should Jesus really rise up from the dead.
For now, let’s just be still, embrace solitude, listen to the silence, and pray.
What is God wanting to say to us today? What do we need to say to God today? Is there something for which we need to repent and to ask for forgiveness from God or someone we know?
Remember, Friday and Saturday are not the final days of Jesus’ life. Nobody back then knew exactly what would happen next. We do. Thank God. We do. Whatever it is you need to speak with God about, celebrate the fact that it is covered by the blood of Jesus. Also, Easter morning lies just a few hours away. Jesus will rise up from the grave and lavish His grace on you.
I’ll see you at the empty tomb.
Jesus is Lord!
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