Updated: Apr 15, 2022
So what now? What happened on the day in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday? If I were to name this day, I would call it silent Saturday. The Bible does not tell us much of what happens on this day.
What did Jesus' followers do the day after He died on the Cross?
We do know it was the Sabbath which was a day of rest so activity would have been restricted. Luke tells us in 23:55-56, "The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment."
The disciples had just gone through a horrific day. Imagine their thoughts and despair. Maybe some were even deeply saddened for they abandoned Jesus in His greatest hour of need. They are human and carry the same fear we do. Would we have done the same? Probably, we do now just under different circumstances. What happens when life gets hard or our prays aren't answered in the way we think they should be? We just as easily run away from Jesus when the road gets a little messy.
We don't know exactly what they were doing on this day, but we can relate to their mourning of the death of their teacher and friend. Jesus did teach of His death and resurrection, but the disciples didn't fully comprehend Jesus's words were literal. They were witness to His death, but they needed to be witness to the resurrection before they would fully understand.
The Pharisees and Pilate Secure Jesus' Tomb
Mathew gives the only details recorded for this day other than the disciples rested on the Sabbath.
The religious leaders may not have believed Jesus was the Savior, but they sure feared Him. They were not taking any chances after the ground shook and the temple split as Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross. Maybe deep down they knew Jesus' claims that He would be raised on the third day would come true. So they did whatever was humanly possible to try and stop whatever events may occur.
They wanted to make certain His body remained in that tomb. The religious leaders approached Pilate to place guards at the tomb to make sure nothing could happen. The tomb was made out of rock in the side of a hill so there was only one way in and one way out. They strung a cord across the stone that was rolled in front of the entrance and sealed the edges with clay. Going one step further, they placed guards at the tomb to keep watch. What they may not have realized at the time is their measures only would prove the validity of the resurrection. They placed unbiased witnesses at the scene.
Reflect on Jesus' Death
As the heaviness of Good Friday still sits on our hearts, imagine what the disciples were doing and feeling on this very day a little over 2,000 years ago. What was going through His mother's head? Was she confident and comforted in the fact that she knew He was coming back? Did she gather with the disciples and mourn as we would? Did they hide in fear of suffering the same fate? We have the advantage today of knowing the rest of the story, but don't let that soften the sacrifice He made for the very people who put Him on that cross. The very sacrifice He made for you and for me.