Holy Week Devotional - Holy Saturday

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During Holy Week we will be emailing daily devotionals that reflect on what happened each day during Holy Week. We hope and pray the Lord uses these devotionals, and additional resources, to encourage you and grow you in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

These devotionals will be archived on our website, and can accessed here.

Please feel free to share any and all of these devotionals!


What Happened on Good Friday?

Suggested Readings

The chief priests and Pharisees place guards at the tomb with Pilate’s permission
Matthew 27:62-66

They rested on the Sabbath
Luke 23:56b

Devotional

The day after Jesus’s death was a day of Sabbath. This generally meant a day of rest, but there must have been a restless tone to the day, and not just for the disciples. Jesus’s death on the cross was not an isolated event.  He was the Word made flesh, and they had killed Him—the impact of this was not contained to a small hilltop outside of the city walls of Jerusalem. As Christians we cling to the spiritual importance of this day, and we will forever more, but the Word tells us there were material repercussions to the crucifixion. The earth shook, rocks were split, faithful dead walked out of their tombs, and the curtain that had for so long separated man from God was torn (Matthew 27:51-54). So what did the people of Jerusalem think of these bizarre symptoms corresponding with the death of the man who claimed to be God?

Jesus’s life was a provocation to those who sought to cultivate their own glory. He challenged the self-righteous to their core, and the Pharisees were a prime target of His rebuke. These were men who used the study and knowledge of God’s law as a stepstool to their own power and adoration. So callous were their hearts, that they felt threatened by Jesus’s ministry and rebuked His gracious healing of the sick because it occurred on the Sabbath. In response to this they had schemed and seemingly succeeded in violently ending the threat of the Nazarene... so did they find rest on this Sabbath? Was their work finished? One of the only details we have from the day after Jesus’s death shows that the Pharisees were not resting on the Sabbath—they still felt the threat of Jesus and lobbied Pilate to guard Jesus’s tomb for fear that His body would be stolen. We don’t know if they grasped the full weight of what they’d done—but surely they would have been disturbed by the mid-day darkness, trembling earth, and the sight of temple Curtain mysteriously torn in two.  Something moved them to break the sabbath in another feeble attempt to secure their position.

The cross exposes us all. The Pharisees, who conspired to kill Jesus in response to His failure to adhere by their interpretation of the Sabbath (Mark 3:6), find themselves breaking the same rule—not for the benefit of the needy, rather for their own security.

Reflection

  • Read the following and reflect on the destructive nature of pride and self-protection:

    • James 1:2-10

    • Proverbs 11:2

    • 2 Corinthians 10:17-18

  • In what ways do you see your earthly desires challenged by God’s Word?

  • Reflect on the destruction that sin yields.

  • Confess sins and your need for God’s mercy.

  • Read Romans 8:1-8 and praise Jesus for bearing the weight of our sin!


*For those interested, the following is a research article discussing the unusual phenomena mentioned in the Gospels that occurred around Christ's crucifixion by reviewing sources from that time period. It's a pretty fascinating read. Enjoy! Click here to read


Worship Through Song

God Rested

So they took His body down
The man who said He was the resurrection and the life
Was lifeless on the ground
The sky was red as blood along the blade of night

As the sabbath fell they shrouded Him in linen
They dressed Him like a wound
The rich man and the women
They laid Him in the tomb

Six days shall you labor
The seventh is the Lord's
In six He made the earth and all the heavens
But He rested on the seventh
God rested
He said that it was finished
And the seventh day, He blessed it
God rested

So they laid their hopes away
They buried all their dreams about the kingdom He proclaimed
And they sealed them in the grave
As a holy silence fell on all Jerusalem

But the Pharisees were restless
Pilate had no peace
And Peter's heart was reckless
Mary couldn't sleep

But God rested

Six days shall you labor
The seventh is the Lord's
In six He made the earth and all the heavens
But He rested on the seventh
God rested
He worked till it was finished
And the seventh day, He blessed it
He said that it was good
And the seventh day, He blessed it
God rested

The sun went down
The sabbath faded
The holy day was done and all creation waited

*For some brief thoughts on this song by its composer, read here


Additional Resources

Video: Holy Week - Holy Saturday

Filmed in conjunction with the book The Final Days of Jesus, this video features short explanations from and interviews with New Testament scholars Andreas Köstenberger and Douglas Moo. Dr. Köstenberger looks at the role of Joseph of Arimathea in Jesus’s burial, the rules for burial at the time, and what we know about first-century tombs. Dr. Moo answers the question of where Jesus was between his death and his resurrection, focusing on 1 Peter 3, which says that Christ preached to spirits in prison. Is this a reference to Jesus descending into Hades?

Holy Week Spotify Playlist

We created a Spotify playlist with music focused on Holy Week. We hope these songs will help you reflect on this momentous week, and help prepare your heart as we reflect on and celebrate these events.