Reflection: The next day after Preparation Day, which we know as Good Friday, was the Sabbath and the Passover Sabbath at that. Yet in this verse we see some of the highest figures in Judaism defiling themselves and entering into the presence of a Gentile to continue their treacherous works on the Sabbath.
Why did they do this? Perhaps it was the cataclysmic events at the crucifixion: the darkness,
the tearing of the temple curtain, the earthquakes. Perhaps it was Joseph of Arimathea catching them by surprise and getting to Pilate first to secure Jesus’ body. Or perhaps it genuinely was Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:40 where he had said to the Pharisees, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Most likely it was a combination of all these three.
This passage is significant for two very important reasons. Firstly, with such an emphasis on the burial of Jesus on the lips of those who’d murdered him, the facts of the passage are clear: Jesus is unequivocally dead. Any idea that he may have temporarily lost consciousness to be
later revived simply cannot be true from the words in front of us. Secondly, Jesus’ dead body is now resting in the most secure grave in all of Jerusalem. Joseph of Arimathea may have one-upped them, but the teachers of the law and Pharisees are very much back in charge. No-one is getting their hands on Jesus’ body with the guard that they have set. As they say, any possibility of a great deception surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ has now been firmly removed by their initiative.
Question: What implications do these events have for the truth of Jesus’ resurrection?
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the way you can turn the actions of your enemies into good, as you did with the Pharisees in the passage in front of us. We
pray that many more people would put their faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ because of the evidence provided to us. Amen.
We are reading the Bible with Paul White until 7th April.