There is a break from the horror of Good Friday! Jesus is carrying out the plan of His Father. His disciples are huddled up trying to figure it all out. No matter how many times Jesus had told them, they didn’t get it.
I don’t either many days. Jesus is talking to me. Jesus has things He wants me to do. I am scared and I am hiding. Yikes!
Master Jesus the Messiah, Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner!
Holy Saturday is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Some theories exist about what is going on from the time of the death of Jesus to His resurrection on Sunday morning. Some have a good case for Jesus visiting Hell or Sheol (the place of the dead). Here is one.
From the scriptures, it is clear Jesus did visit Sheol. After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there the entirety of Holy Saturday (Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53-54; John 19:39-42). Saturday turned into Sunday!“‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46)
Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. (Mark 15:46)
Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. (Acts 2:29-31)
Without the resurrection of the Messiah, we would be in dire straits. If the Messiah had never been raised, “your faith is futile; you are still in your sins”. The disciples had scattered when Jesus was arrested, and they spent the first Holy Saturday hiding for fear of also being arrested. The day between Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection would have been a time of grief and shock as the stunned disciples tried to understand the murder of Jesus, the betrayal of Judas, and the dashing of their hopes. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19)
The only reference to what happened on Holy Saturday is found in Matthew 27:62-66. After sundown on Friday—the day of Preparation—the chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate. This visit was on the Sabbath, since the Jews reckoned a day as starting at sundown. They asked Pilate for a guard for Jesus’ tomb.
Matthew 27:62-66 reveals:
“The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise. ‘Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.”
Less is written about this day in Scripture than any other day in Holy Week, but this is the only full day where Jesus’ body lay buried. The chief priests may have scoffed at Jesus’ prophecy but they did not forget it. The religious leaders were paranoid that something might happen still, which is why they asked for the extra security.
They remembered Jesus saying that He would rise again in three days and wanted to do everything they could to prevent that. As we know, the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection, and the women who returned to the tomb Sunday morning found it empty.
The Lord is risen.