Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Holy Week: Holy Saturday
(a.k.a., “Black Saturday”, as well as some less-known names)
As we have been progressing through Holy Week, we have seen the emotional roller coaster of the crowds—from exuberant and praising God to becoming an angry mob that went from cheering to jeering Jesus, demanding that He be crucified. For those whom have experienced betrayal from a loved one, we empathize with how Jesus must have felt when Judas spied on Him and betrayed Him on Maundy Thursday evening, resulting in His arrest. We also discovered that Jesus was subjected to kangaroo court proceedings and was questioned illegally and in secret by Annas, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin late the same evening into the wee hours of Good Friday. A little later that morning, still in the early hours, an exhausted Jesus was taken to Pilate, who questioned Him, and not finding Jesus guilty of any crime, sent Him to Herod (because Jesus was under his jurisdiction). Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, without any comments about Jesus’ supposed-wrongdoing. Pilot noted this to the crowd, but the Pharisees incited the mob to demand Jesus be crucified. As a result, Jesus was sentenced and crucified at 9:00 in the morning (Mk. 15:25), and He died about 3:00 in the afternoon, and was buried in the tomb (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34; Lk 23:44).
Holy or “Black” Saturday
With all the events that happened in Holy Week, it may be tempting to think that Jesus was waiting in the wings, so to speak, to make His grand Resurrection entrance in the conclusion of the Holy Week Drama. In fact, we even sing hymns that suggest that very idea. For example, “Low in the grave He lay….Waiting the coming day…. “, (“Up From the Grave He Arose”, (Robert Lowry, 1874). But what really happened after Jesus’ death?
Immediately after Jesus loudly uttered His last words--“Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit (Lk. 2346, NIV)—He took His final breath. Then Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish High Council—who had not agreed with the other members regarding the verdict that Jesus must die, went to Pilate and requested that Jesus’ body be released to Him. He removed Jesus’ body from the cross, wrapped in linen cloth, and laid His body in a new tomb. By that time, the Sabbath was about to begin. The women, who had followed to see where Jesus’ tomb was, went home to prepare spices for His body. However, they could not return until after Sabbath was finished (Mt. 27: 45-61; Mk. 15: 33-47; Lk.23: 44-56). So, Jesus was laid in the tomb, and the Pharisees were still not satisfied. Thus, they went to Pilate to convey their suspicions that the disciples might steal His body and then spread lies that Christ was risen from the dead; they request that the tomb be sealed. Pilate agreed and a guard was also posted at the tomb (Mt. 27: 62-66).
One of the lines in the widely-used Apostles’ Creed reads, “[Christ] Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell.” This has been derived from the interpretation of Scriptures, such as 1 Peter 3: 18-29. This is known as the “Harrowing of Hell”, which took place between the time that Jesus was laid in the tomb and His Resurrection.
Although some people refer to this as “Silent Saturday” (i.e., that God was silent and the disciples were in hiding, fearful of being captured and sharing the same fate as Jesus), there were still individuals and forces at work that were attempting to do everything in their power to keep Jesus sealed in the tomb…I wonder, do we do a similar thing when we try to keep Him in a constricted place in our relationship with Him?
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)