It was the Sabbath. This Sabbath was unlike any other. Jesus had just been killed. Peter had denied Jesus with his words, the rest with their silence. No, this was not a normal Sabbath. Fear and confusion were everywhere.
Peter denied Jesus because he was afraid. He was afraid for his own life and for the lives of his friends. But more than that, Peter was afraid because all he had believed and understood was coming into question. How could Jesus be both Messiah, and crucified? How could Jesus be both King, and dead?
Fear and confusion were not limited to Peter. Almost all of Jesus’ followers scattered. They denied Jesus with their feet. They ran. Just a week earlier Jesus entered the city to the cries of “Hosannah, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” What a difference those few days made. The cries of “Hosannah” changed to “Crucify Him!”
Mary had watched her son die. A mother’s grief is like none other. Her Sabbath would not be a day of rest, but of sorrow.
The Centurion who never gave the Sabbath a passing thought was grieved about the death of an innocent man. Even some of His executioners understood that Jesus did not deserve to die.
The priests serving in the Temple expected a normal Sabbath day. Criminals had been executed before with no effect on their priestly duties. But on Friday, the Priests tending the temple heard a loud tearing sound. The heavy veil separating the Holy of Holies was miraculously torn from top to bottom.
This Sabbath, the Holy of Holies would be visible to all. The place where “God dwells” was no longer shielded. No, this was not a normal Sabbath day.
That Sabbath was the longest day. For those who followed Jesus, their minds were filled with doubt and confusion. His closest disciples were filled with grief from losing a dear friend. How could there be a day of rest with so many unanswered questions?
Because Sunday was coming. Dawn would break to an empty tomb. The women would find a heavy stone rolled away and hear an angel say “He is not here, for He has been raised, just as He said.” Peter would peer into a tomb finding only lightly used grave linens. Sin’s penalty was paid, death was conquered, and a way was made for all of us to be made right with God. God’s plan of redemption was complete.
“God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21