Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Have you ever been in the position where you are completely empty both physically, spiritually and emotionally? The gospel accounts of the immediate aftermath of the crucifixion are very succinct and do not go into the detail of how the disciples and other followers of Jesus were feeling at the end of Good Friday – The Day of Preparation. It was because it was the Day of Preparation and the start of the Sabbath was immanent, that Joseph and Nicodemus (in John’s account) had to work hard and fast to carry out the Jewish burial customs before laying Jesus’ body in the tomb, and the women, probably unaware of all that Joseph had done, prepared spices and perfumes. But then they rested on the Sabbath.
What sort of rest was that? Did they, could they sleep? They must have been completely empty making Friday night and all day Saturday and Saturday night almost unbearable – Jesus was dead, their lives suddenly empty, hence the very early rise and urgent visit to the tomb to do what they could.
But that visit to the tomb in emptiness and grief changed everything for the empty tomb addressed their emptiness in a way that was beyond their imagining.
Jesus was not in the tomb. He had risen. He met with them and all his disciples and their emptiness turned to fullness which, with the gift of the Holy Spirit some days later, overflowed to the world.
It is the same today. Completely empty lives, partially empty lives can only be filled by and with the risen Christ when we come to him in repentance and faith and acknowledge him as Lord.
We will never have to endure what Jesus’ followers endured on that particular Sabbath day but the glorious message of Easter is that no matter where we are and in what state, the Risen Christ is sufficient. Rejoice in that today, because we know about tomorrow, and pass it on!