Holy Saturday

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

–          John 19:38-42

 

“On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy.  Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more.  On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it.  We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall.  Death is, in fact, what some modern people call ‘ambivalent.’  It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.”

–          C. S. Lewis, Miracles

 

In the C. S. Lewis devotional, The Business of Heaven, quotes from various C. S. Lewis books, essays, etc. are provided for each day of the year, but additional devotions are provided for holidays that don’t appear on the same day or same month.  The Holy Week devotions have been featured for the past few days and tomorrow.  His ‘Holy Saturday’ devotion talks of nothing, but death.

 

Why not address nothing but Death on this day?  After all, Jesus had died just in enough time for Joseph of Arimathea to obtain the body for a quick burial before the Sabbath day started at sundown.  The Saturday between the first Good Friday and Easter must have been torture for those who loved Him.  They stayed hidden, afraid that the authorities would come after them.  During that Saturday, the lessons that Jesus had taught were probably the furthest thing from their minds.  His bold statements about conquering death on the third day were forgotten due to the sorrow of the moment.

 

I have not experienced a Holy Saturday worship service, but Bill Gaither wrote a song to guess at what His dearest friends and mother might have agonized over during that day.

 

They all walked away, with nothing to say,
They’d just lost their dearest friend.
All that He said, now He was dead,
So this was the way it would end.
The dreams they had dreamed were not what they’d seemed,
Now that He was dead and gone.
The garden, the jail, the hammer, the nail,
How could a night be so long.

Then came the morning, night turned into day;
The stone was rolled away, hope rose with the dawn.
Then came the morning, shadows vanished before the sun,
Death had lost and life had won, for morning had come.

The angel, the star, the kings from afar,
The wedding, the water, the wine.
Now it was done, they’d taken her son,
Wasted before his time.
She knew it was true, she’d watched him die too,
She’d heard them call Him just a man,
But deep in her heart, she knew from the start,
Somehow her Son would live again.

Then came the morning, night turned into day;
The stone was rolled away, hope rose with the dawn.
Then came the morning, shadows vanished before the sun,
Death had lost and life had won, for morning had come.

–          Bill Gaither, Then Came the Morning

 

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