Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Saturday, April 16, Morning – Holy Week Day 6
By Ann Reego
Read: Matthew 27:62-66
“The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”
My father passed away on Dec. 26 while visiting us for Christmas in Salt Lake City, Utah. I remember being too stunned and shocked to fall asleep easily, but after a good cry to release tension I got some troubled sleep. When I awoke the next day, the sun was shining, the air crisp and cold. But I was hurting. The hole in my heart was painful, and I couldn’t believe what I had witnessed in the hospital the night before. My heart was in as much pain as his was because of the heart attack that took him from us. The next day, Mom and I went through the motions of what had to be done at the funeral home and made arrangements to fly to Dallas. She was scared about how she would live without him after 40+ years. I was simply lost. My father, my rock, my first love, my mentor was gone
I can only imagine how the family, followers and disciples of Jesus felt the “next day”. First, it was the Sabbath and certain rituals had to be observed. Second, I’m sure they were terrified that they would be the next ones arrested. Third, they were without a man that they had become close to and followed for the last three years. He had been their source of strength. They believed in him. Would he come again as he had promised? I’m sure they wanted to believe, but at that point, it was just too painful.
The “powers that be” were scrambling to make sure the disciples did not steal the body and claim that He had risen. They placed guards in front of the tomb and marked it with a seal so that Jesus couldn’t get out. But an earthquake rolled the stone away, and the guards were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men.
Of course we all know what happened. The body was gone and arrayed in glory. The women did not know Him at first and neither did anyone else. But He revealed himself to all of them and they realized that they had been a witness to history.
Then Jesus gave them their instructions:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
These Orders Remain for Us Today!
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your son. We thank you for relationships we have here that we mourn when we lose them. We pledge to follow your teachings and teach your ways to all people … even to the end of the age. Amen.