Resurrection and New Life Day 6 – The Day that Hope Seemed Lost
“The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while He was still alive, “After three days I will rise.” Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples go and steal Him away and tell the people,“He has risen from the dead,” and the last fraud will be worse than the first.’’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.’” (Matthew 27:62-65, ESV)
On my first day back at work after coming home from China with our adopted daughter, my coworkers put together a tremendous welcome back party for me. It was such an awesome thing for them to do, and I was deeply humbled and grateful. But the effects of jet lag and having had hardly any sleep for 3-4 days made me feel like a bowl of cooked spaghetti. I had no energy and I didn’t feel like celebrating at all. I wonder if this Saturday—the Sabbath—felt like that to the disciples of our Lord Jesus. It was Sabbath, a day of rest and reflection, and a day to be enjoyed. But I don’t think there was much joy among them on this particular Sabbath.
Reading the passage above still leads me to sit back in wonder. Jesus, the eternal Son, buried in a tomb and people talking about a tomb He was inhabiting—how could it be? And I’m sure the disciples felt the same way. This Man with such power—how could He be in the grave? It had to have felt so hopeless. The next day, two of His followers even spoke about how they had hoped He was the Redeemer. But now what? They had placed all their hope in Him, and now He was dead, lying behind a massive stone. I wonder what the disciples did that day. I would imagine a lot of sitting around in solemn silence, lots of tears, many questions, tremors of fear. Maybe there was even anger mixed with bitter sorrow. But there was almost certainly no rest.
This day would only last so long, and then everything would change forever. But on that Sabbath, when hope seemed lost to His friends and their whole world shattered, Jesus rested. His work was done—finished—and it was time for Him to rest. It was Sabbath, after all, but it was soon to end. In the words of Andrew Peterson, the writer of (in my opinion) the greatest song ever written about this day (the brilliant “God Rested”):
The sun went down
The Sabbath faded
The holy day was done and all creation waited
Hope wasn’t lost at all. A new hope—a greater hope—was just about to rise.