Our Lenten Devotion for Holy Saturday, April 16, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:55-56
“On the seventh day of the week of our redemption, when Jesus had fulfilled all he was sent by his Father to do, he rested in the tomb, and the women whose hearts were broken with grief rested with him.”
(from Walk With Jesus, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 88Henri)
Those faithful women had followed Jesus throughout his ministry and had provided for his needs (Matthew 27:55). They walked with him on “the way of sorrows,” from Pilate’s palace to Calvary. They remained at the cross throughout those agonizing hours. They saw him breathe his final breath. Their hearts were broken with grief beyond belief. The One who had raised the dead was now dead.
Once the sabbath was past, they would return to anoint his body and at least give him a proper burial. Many of us have had our hearts broken with grief. We have wept at the graveside of loved ones. But in the midst of our deepest sorrow, we know by faith that there is a new and glorious life beyond the grave. Death still stings like fire. But no matter how long our sabbath of grief may last, we have the confident assurance that “death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54)
This day calls us to remember that even in our own times of grief, the hope of new life comes to each of us in God’s promise in Christ. The mysteries of death are set aside through our faith in God through Christ.
God of hope, we praise you for giving us the victory over death and the grave through our Lord Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 15:57) Amen.