As I type this, it is the night before Easter. As I look forward to tomorrow and think about the significance of Easter, I cannot help but think about what this night must have been like for Jesus’s followers on that night before the very first Easter. It was the Sabbath–the Lord’s day was Saturday, remember. What must it have been like for the disciples? For Mary? For the other followers of Christ? They had watched Christ die. They had seen Him buried. If they had slept at all Friday night they had surely awoken tired, weary and completely in despair. How difficult it must have been for them to observe that Sabbath day…to worship God after watching Jesus crucifixion.
Any of us who have been through times of intense personal loss can relate at least at some level to what these followers must have felt. More than likely the day had been full of going through the motions. In many ways, they were probably on auto-pilot…eating because they were supposed to, not because they wanted to or really felt hungry, for example. What conversation there was was almost certainly in hushed tones. There may have been some fond reminiscences of things Jesus had said or done, but for the most part I imagine their entire day was overshadowed by grief.
Mark 15:47 says, “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid” (ESV). To me, this means that they stayed close enough to Jesus to see exactly what happened each step of the way…from removing His body from the cross, to wrapping it in a shroud, to placing it in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, to seeing that tomb sealed with a stone. These women, like John and the other disciples, and many other individuals unknown to us by name, knew that Jesus was dead. This man whom they had spent an incredible amount of time with other the last three years (or, in Mary’s case, His whole life), whose teachings that had heard, whose miracles they had witnessed…He was dead.
These individuals had misunderstood much of Jesus’s teachings about why He came to earth and how He would save the sinners, and therefore these was no hope in their hearts. This is evidenced by the fact that the women went to the tomb on Sunday morning with burial spices to dress the body.
At the same time, the night before the first Easter must have been the most joyous and celebratory day in history for Satan and his minions. Satan had been trying throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus to destroy Jesus’ ability to be the unblemished redeemer. He had tempted Him in the wilderness three times at the beginning, and now he thought he had won, because Jesus was dead…
—To be continued—