40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
42 When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45 When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.
In the busy schedule of Holy Week, Holy Saturday often gets lost in the mix. It’s can become just the day to prep for Easter – last minute grocery shopping or egg-dyeing. I invite you, though, to resist that urge, as Holy Saturday is irreplaceably significant. It’s the “he descended to the dead” part of the creed we sometimes say during baptism or communion rituals. It’s the idea that after Jesus’ death, but even before His resurrection, He declares victory over death and continues the work to save.
In today’s text, Mark gives us some insight as to what is happening, here on earth, between the crucifixion and the resurrection. The women, including the Mary’s and Salome, have stayed close through and beyond the crucifixion. Joseph of Arimathea gets the body and puts it in a tomb (still not anointing it). The women take note of where Jesus has been laid to rest so that they may anoint the body the next chance they get (Easter morning). Their devotion has gone unrecognized by all but Christ.
Holy Saturday for us can be a day to not only mourn but also honor the fully human-ness of Jesus Christ. We know Easter is coming, but today we can be like the women who followed Christ: they were diligent, alert, and would not let any stone go unturned to honor Jesus. We can use today to give praise to the life and ministry Jesus had here on earth.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
What does the Saturday before Easter usually look like for you? Is there a practice you can add into your Holy Week schedule to honor the earthly life of Christ?
Prayer: Heavenly Lord, you gave us your Son though we did not deserve it. You watched and wept with the women as Jesus died. You did not miss a moment in declaring victory over death and sin. May we use this day to honor you. Anoint us with your Holy Spirit, that we may be Easter people. Amen.