Read Matthew 27:62-66
The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Matthew 27:62 begins with, “The next day…” We often read the story of the crucifixion noting Friday and Sunday. Rarely do we pause for the next day, the day after Friday. If the pain of Friday wasn’t enough, the grueling and agonizing waiting in the messy middle of Saturday feels too much. Yet, in God’s sovereign plan, He decided to wait through the next day for the miracle. Jesus could have been dead mere minutes, hours even. Yet, there was a wait. There was a pause. There was a long silence.
Here we are on Saturday. The day darkness tried to further their advance on the Light by ensuring there was no way a follower of Jesus could manufacture a miracle. The chief priests and Pharisees requested Pilate’s help to secure the tomb so that no one could break in and steal the body. It was one last ditch effort to rid the world of the hope and light for the world.
Scripture has much to say about grief and mourning. Jesus never shied away or shunned the deep emotions of grief and pain. He never told those who were hurting to “stop crying.” He often sought out the hurting and the grieving bringing them in closer rather than pushing them to the margins. He cried with his friends, Mary and Martha, when their brother, Lazarus, died.
Death is brutal. Not only physical death, but death of dreams, health, marriages, and innocence. Jesus could have come back to life five minutes after his death; but, perhaps there’s this messy waiting period in the middle of the resurrection story because God so deeply wants us to know He understands that grief takes time. To work through the labor pains of grief so that hope might be born. To skip over “the next day” is to run past the pain that gives birth to joy.
If in this season, we find ourselves grieving the loss of something or someone, know that He understands the pain. He understands our messy middle. In the darkness and disorientation of Saturday, hope was waking up. In God’s silence, He was still working. In our waiting, He’s still working.
First the pain. Then the waiting. Then Sunday. Hope is waking up.
- Why do you think God allowed “a next day” before the resurrection on Sunday?
- How have you seen God work in the waiting of your life?
- Where do you need to trust God more with your pain?