Saturday in Holy Week
Scripture: St. John 19:38-42 (NKJV)
38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
The closeness of the tomb to the place of crucifixion was important because the fast approaching sunset brought with it the beginning of the Sabbath day so the body had to be interred before sunset, when the Sabbath would start and no work could be done. Thus the third day of Jesus’ entombment begins with sundown on Saturday.
John in verse 38 references all that had taken place during Friday which closed with the crowds in Jerusalem fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” and “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.”
Sadly, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and even the disciples cowering in the upper room—do not fully appreciate that this second prophecy has been graciously fulfilled with the sacrificing of the Lamb of God for the sin of the world. We unlike these first century believers look to the sunrise of Sunday with great hope and joy for we already “know the tomb cannot restrain” the Christ of God, for He is the “Holy One” of God Who shall not see decay in the grave nor languish in Sheol.This reality makes this day indeed a Holy Saturday, for the sunrise of our Lord and Redeemer fast approaches.