The Holy Week Devotions Day 8
“People of The Passion: Who were they? Who are we?”
So much has been written about the days of Jesus, just before he returned to be with the Father. At some level it’s hard to imagine another collection of devotions will add anything to the passion story. However, every time we approach the written word of God, we can expect His Spirit to guide us, instruct us, convict us, teach us, and give us hope, just to name a few benefits. Our prayer, as you walk the walk of Holy Week, this year, is that through the interactions between Jesus and OTHERS, you will see both His self and yourself more clearly, so that His life, death and resurrection come alive to you again (or, maybe, for the first time). Lord bless!
– Majors Rob & Stacy Birks (San Diego Kroc Center Administrators/Pastors)
Saturday April 8 Matthew 27:57-66
The Religious Leaders
“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ (v. 63 NIV)
I’ve heard it said by preachers and read it written by writers that we followers of Jesus sometimes live on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, regretting the tragedy of Good Friday and allowing our hopes to be sealed inside the tomb, with the dead body of Jesus. I’ll buy that. In my life, there’ve been far too many times when I’ve found myself in a stupor, brought on by a recent defeat and, well, feeling defeated – bereft of any hope of any kind. That’s a thing, for sure, and I suspect I’m not the only Christian who admits to having been there, done that (whether or not a t-shirt was involved).
Another way to view that solemn Saturday is to consider the lie that was being hatched. The religious people of the day – many of whom were responsible for killing Jesus – began to worry about the ramifications of the body of Jesus disappearing from his tomb. This led them to asking Pilate to order the tomb sealed. The Bible makes it clear that they weren’t worried about Jesus getting up and getting out, but about his followers breaking in and taking him, adding credence to his earlier talk of resurrection. Pilate, who – when washing his hands – had claimed his innocence of the shedding of Jesus’ blood, was not about to be guilty of resurrection rumors. He acquiesced. We now know that the seal didn’t hold or even matter. However, as a truth often attributed to Mark Twain tells us; “A lie can travel halfway around the world, while truth is still putting on its shoes.” Approximately fifty or sixty years later, the lie – which began to spread in Matthew 28:11-15 – was still being told and heard and believed. Fake news is not a modern phenomenon.
For us – people of the Resurrection – it is crucially important to refute that lie at every instance. On those days between tragic and triumph, we need to ask the Holy Spirit, whose power raised Jesus from the dead, to lift our spirits, guard us from swallowing that lie from the pit or similar ones and lead us to Matthew 28. As Jesus said in John 8:32, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”