It was the Sabbath day – a day dedicated to rest and meditation. Jesus’ body had been interred in the tomb of a rich man. Time would not allow for preparing the body for burial, because the Sabbath required no work of any kind.
It was a fact that Jesus lay dead in that grave, but the leaders of the Sanhedrin wanted to make sure that the body wasn’t stolen by His followers – which would create even more of an uproar. They remembered that Jesus spoke of rising from the dead. If His body disappeared, it would open a whole new can of worms. They went to Pilate and asked that extra security be placed at the tomb so this wouldn’t happen.
Where were Jesus’ followers? We know that John took Mary, the mother of Jesus to his home, but what about the rest of them. Peter, after his denial of Jesus, must’ve felt great remorse and went into hiding fearing for his own life. Judas, the betrayer had already committed suicide. What about the rest of them? Surely, they must’ve recalled the words of the Messiah as they sat at the last supper together.
“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 15:20-22
Those words were spoken only two days before. They were uttered by Jesus to give his disciples hope and peace of mind for the events that would follow. I imagine all they had in mind was grief at the loss of the One they called, Messiah. They were confused, frightened, anxious, depressed, really afraid for their own lives. Aren’t we much like them in that way? When our faith is challenged – when ugly things happen in our lives – when there seems to be no future – our first inclination is to run away. Our God is omniscient, which means “all knowing.” We can’t hide from Him. We cannot run away from Him.
As we ponder the happenings of Holy Week, let’s remember that our fears and anxieties will soon come to an end. As Jesus foretold – “I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” A new day is coming. The day of Resurrection. Don’t let anything take away the wonderful joy of that message.