Matthew 27:61-66 NKJV
Pilate Sets a Guard
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
Holy Saturday brings us to a very solemn point in the week but it sets the stage for the miracle and power of Easter. It like all the other days in Holy Week holds some great value for us when we stop and reflect on the activities and God’s work and purpose in each day.
The religious leaders of the day had gotten what they wanted with Jesus dead and in the tomb. Per Jesus prophecy to His friends that “the shepherd would be struck and the sheep would scatter” His apostles are hidden away in mourning and sadness that he is dead and in the tomb. Their grief is so great they don’t yet have the capacity to reflect on His life and His promise to rise from the dead so they only see him as dead and in the tomb.
Both of these groups have different beliefs and faith yet both of them see Jesus as dead and in the tomb. His value has been extinguished and His ability to help or make a difference in their lives died with Him. Their hope is sealed away in the box of the grave, and there is no logic or reason that lets them see Him outside the box.
How often do we join them in our lives– we know the promise he gave us, yet we all too often see him as confined to the box we have him inside our Bibles. We keep him there by the limits that logic and reason put on our lives. We in our despair and hurry to fix something that we need Him for leads us to feeling lost and alone.
In reality we run the risk of any of these 3 positions in our lives affecting our service for God.
- We may be prideful of heart ( like the religious leaders ) and think we plotted and schemed to get our way in something we deemed as important only to realize we have out smarted ourselves and were on the wrong side of the issue. The biggest challenge here is to find a way to set our pride aside and come to God for forgiveness and to change our future way of living.
- We can experience a close walk with Jesus when things are going well ( like His apostles ) and then we feel not so close when life brings us difficult circumstances. We feel like we are living in our day to day challenges so the leap of faith required to get us back to where we were seems just too big so we spend our time in sadness and separation from God.
- Sometimes we fail to take Jesus out of the box and we become convinced that he must have left us. In reality He never went left or right of His purpose for us but we move off track and then our faith is not strong enough to overcome the boundaries our logic and reason have put around us.
May God strengthen us today as remember the day of loss and sadness found in Jesus death and burial. May the light of Hope he has provided in our faith remain alive in us for Joy cometh in the morning.