Passion Week – The In-Between Sabbath Day

In the story of the Passion, we have this unusual Sabbath day. It's the day after the darkest day in history: Jesus' death and burial. It's also the day before the brightest day in history: Jesus' triumphant resurrection! It's just in the middle. And we only have one verse of scripture from that day in Matthew 27:

The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
— Matthew 27:62-66 NLT

This image was taken in 1922. It is the unbroken seal that was on the tomb of the ancient Pharoah, Tutankhamun. It was sealed upon his death at age 18 in 1323 BC, then laid untouched and unbroken for 3,245 years until its discovery in the 20th century by Howard Carter. I use this image to illustrate what the priests and Pharisees wished would've happened with Jesus. The only thing they could do to keep Jesus in the tomb was to put a seal on it, and post a couple of sentries there to ensure there would be absolutely no tomfoolery happening with the body of there least favorite rabbi from Nazareth. Humanity is endlessly trying to place human limitations on the power of God.

They were successful with this strategy... For about 24 hours. No rope, no stamp, no gravestone could hold Jesus down. Indeed, no strategy of man or devil could withhold the King of Kings from his destiny as the Resurrected One. But for one single solitary day, the day in-between, it seemed like it was going to work.

I want to suggest that the dispensation of the church age in which we live until this day is represented by that "In-Between" Sabbath day. We are caught between the wickedness of our past wrongs and the glorious hope that is in our promised future. From an outsider looking in, we look powerless to overcome. There are situations that strikingly appear like a sealed-up and guarded tomb. No hope there...

But fear not brothers and sisters. Just as surely as Jesus rose to conquer death, hell and the grave; so He will also rise to conquer your areas of weakness and death. We serve a God that can bring dead things back to life: no matter what human or demonic strategy may be employed to seal it up forever. In this "In-Between" life, let us...

...lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us], and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Heb 12:1-2 NKJV