Guest Post: The Longest Sabbath

Today’s post is written by my friend, Jeanette. Thanks, Jeanette! I’ll be posting over at Coffee Talk today.


Luke 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.

Mark 16:1-4 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

It was the Sabbath, the day after Jesus was crucified. In all of history, there has never been another day like it. Evil had triumphed. After the cruel uproar and wicked crucifixion, it must have seemed as if the dark covering of death had fallen over the whole land of Israel.

A group of women had seen the whole thing from a distance. Maybe they were afraid. Or maybe they could not bear to come too close to Jesus’ suffering. Still, they could not tear themselves away. When it was over, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could have Jesus’ body, and with Nicodemus helping him, they wrapped the body in myrrh and spices in accordance with the Jewish burial customs and laid the body in a tomb. (John 19:38-42) Some of the women followed and saw it all. And then the Jewish Sabbath began.

I can’t help but wonder…What was that long, long Sabbath like for them? Three of those ladies—Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome—had been following Jesus in Galilee. They had seen His miracles. They had taken care of Him. They loved Him. And now suddenly the center of their world had been tortured and ripped away from them forever. They needed to keep on caring for Him, to make sure He was okay. But it was the Sabbath. They were not allowed to keep busy to distract themselves from the awful scenes of the day before. The law dictated that they must rest.

And so during that endless day, they must have relived it all over and over – Jesus’ teaching and amazing miracles, His love and faultless life, the terrible accusations against Him, the dreadful sentence, His final agony and incomparable death. They had time to remember it all and to do their thinking. Even though they could not understand, they knew the kind of person Jesus was, and they believed.

Heavenly Father, when everything spins out of my control and I am desperate to know what to do, help me to rest, to recount all Your faithfulness, and to do my thinking. I remember, and I believe.

3 Responses to Guest Post: The Longest Sabbath

  1. March 10, 2009 #

    Excellent post, Jeanette! We’ve all had those long days. But as you so clearly reminded us, we can always trust in His goodness.

  2. March 10, 2009 #

    every year during the easter triduum (holy thursday, good friday, holy saturday) in our church the alter is stripped bare at the thursday mass. for good friday service many of our elements of the liturgy are absent, & until sundown saturday (easter sunday vigil) it remains so. i remember as a child the keen sense of that long sabbath when my mother explained why this was so. can you imagine what it was like to be in the chronos time of that experience without the assurance of the outcome as we are?! what a profound thought this post plants!

  3. March 10, 2009 #

    Thank you so much, qualcosa di bello, for your added thoughts about this. This was actually a new thought for me as I was reading this passage, and it struck me so strongly. And you are exactly right. We now have the assurance of the outcome, which they did not have on that long, long Sabbath…

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