#HolyWeek2021 – Holy Saturday: Jesus in the Tomb

Welcome to the Clincarthill Parish Church Holy Week Reflections. My name is Joan. Today is Holy Saturday: a strange day, which sits between the sadness of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday. Sometimes, Christians celebrating Holy Week forget about today, which is a shame, because it is still part of the journey of Jesus, going from His death to His resurrection. Today, we reflect on the theme, “Jesus in the Tomb”. We read about this in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 23:

50Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51who 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. 52Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53Then 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. 54It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

It’s a strange thing to imagine: the LORD of the universe entombed in rock on some hillside near Jerusalem. Yet, that is exactly what happened. For Jesus sacrifice on the Cross to mean anything to us, He had to die.

The Bible teaches that the worst consequence of sin is death. Jesus’ death is therefore a kind of proof: it shows that He really did take upon Himself the sin of the world, because He experienced that ultimate consequence. And since Jesus is God in human form, we know that He was able to take on the sin of the whole world: not just one or two of us, but all of us! This means that anyone, anywhere, can put their faith in Jesus and know that their sin was taken away by His death on the Cross.

His death was God’s way of dealing with the sin of the world, and removing the consequences of sin from us. But Jesus’ death, in itself, does not prove that anything has changed. For that, we need to wait just one more day. Jesus’ resurrection, on Easter Sunday, was God’s sign that death had been defeated, the consequences of sin dealt with, and that there was a new hope for all of us. That is why Easter Sunday is such an important celebration for Christians.

But let us not rush to that celebration! To really appreciate the Good News of resurrection, we need to first dwell on the difficult news of Jesus’ death, and remember Him cold and dead in that tomb. So, take a moment and reflect: simply think of the God of the universe dead in a tomb. Think about what that means for you.

If you are taking part in building a Holy Week display, today’s symbol is a pebble. Add the pebble to the display, as a reminder of the stone rolled in front of the tomb.

Our Holy Week journey is nearing its end, and I invite you to join us in celebrating Easter Sunday tomorrow at Clincarthill Church, with a special service of worship taking place at 11am. Please join us for that.

To conclude, let us share in a prayer:

Dear God: Thank you that you were willing to give up your life, so that we might live. Thank you that you took upon yourself the consequences of sin, so that we do not need to experience them. Help us to put our faith in you, so that we can be set free from sin. Help us to reflect on that difficult image of You lying in that cold tomb, that we might learn to better appreciate all that You have done for us.

And thank You that the image of Jesus in the tomb is not the final scene in this story. Amen.