(This post is part of our blog series on Holy Week in preparation for Easter 2015. Click here to find additional posts from this series.)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5 ESV)
Now, on Saturday of Holy week, the Eternal Word made flesh lay dead in a cold tomb, wrapped in burial clothes. The eternally existent God of all creation was dead. Truly, fully, humanly dead.
The gospels record very little of what happened on Saturday. Most of the thoughts below are speculation, though I think they are a reasonable deduction of what happened on Saturday.
Surely the disciples were in hiding. They were afraid of further reprisal for the work and words of Jesus. After following Jesus for the last three years they are now abandoned, without hope, and unable to comprehend where their lives went so terribly wrong. Saturday for them was probably spent in fear and worry.
Surely the religious leaders thought that they were done that rebellious Rabbi. They still had his followers to deal with, but with the shepherd so go the sheep. It would be an easy task to reaffirm their authority and to rid themselves of those blasphemers. They placed a guard at the tomb so the disciples wouldn’t be able to remove the body of Jesus and fraudulently claim His resurrection. There was some fallout to deal with, but they surely thought that this incident was behind them.
Surely Pontius Pilate and the other Romans went back to business as usual. They’d dodged a riot by just giving the Sanhedrin what they wanted. What is it to them to have put to death yet another potential contender to the power of Rome?
Surely the forces of evil were reveling in ecstatic celebration. When Jesus died, a shriek of victory must have pierced the domain of the evil one. They thought that the war was won.
They were ALL wrong.
The war was won, but not for the powers of evil and the forces of wickedness. What they thought was the death blow to the powers of good was their own downfall. Their fates are sealed.
The power of Rome was nothing compared to the power that would be expressed by God through the resurrection of Jesus. The might of that great kingdom would be eclipsed and the might of the true kingdom of God would grow ever stronger.
The troubles for the religious leaders had only begun. Little did they know that by inciting the riotous murder of Jesus, they'd sparked a flame that would burn brighter than any other.
The disciples had no need for fear. It’s understandable, but not warranted if they knew the whole story. In one day their dashed hopes would be overcome by a face to face encounter with their Great Hope.
All of these groups basically express a lack of faith, whether hard hearted, indifferent, or weak. Even now, given the more full revelation of God that we have, we can relate. We are prone to the same shaken and broken faith of the disciples. We are prone to the same hardness of heart of the Pharisees. We are prone to the same indifference of Rome. We are prone to believe that evil has won.
Let us be people who believe more deeply today! May we ever remember our propensities to doubt and trust the power of our Great Savior!
There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain,
Then bursting forth, in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again!*
*From "In Christ Alone” - by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend - Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music