Day 6 – The Guard at the Tomb
Scripture: Matthew 27:62–66
Saturday was quiet. According to Scripture, it was the only full day in history where the body of Christ lies buried in a cave. After Jesus died on the cross, his body was removed from the cross, wrapped in a linen shroud, and placed in a tomb with a large stone.
According to Luke 23:56, “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” Traditionally, the Sabbath was on Saturday, so this would have been the people’s day of rest. However, those who had crucified Jesus didn’t rest easy.
62 The next day, which followed the preparation day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come, steal him, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 “You have a guard of soldiers,” Pilate told them. “Go and make it as secure as you know how.” 66 They went and secured the tomb by setting a seal on the stone and placing the guards. – Matthew 27:62-66
Even though they saw Jesus crucified on the cross, the chief priests still saw Jesus as a risk. At the same time, imagine how those who followed Jesus must have felt on this day. The man they hoped was the Savior, who had fulfilled scripture and accomplished many miracles in front of their eyes, had submitted to death.
In the eyes of those who followed Jesus, on this day, truly believed the movement died alongside Jesus. Gloom and dread began to set in. They hoped he was the Savior, they believed that he was the promised one, but clearly, that was not the case. Why did the multitudes that followed Jesus come to this stark conclusion? Because he died, but what they failed to realize is that it was a physical death. The apostles and Mary spent this day in mourning.
Reflection: It’s hard to live in the in-between, but that is often how it feels for those of us who follow Christ. We know this is just our temporary home and we anxiously await the day when we will spend eternity with our Savior. Saturday feels like the in-between. We know Jesus died on the cross, but we know He will rise again. Take time today to praise God for living in the in-between because you know what the future holds.
Pray: Lord, as we draw closer to Easter, prepare our hearts. Help us to understand what you did for us. Make your death and resurrection real to us as we celebrate what is coming tomorrow. While we live on Earth, help us to hold strong to our hope of eternity with you. Amen.