THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM
16 Now when the Sabbath was past…. Mark 16:1 (NKJV)
One of the confusions concerning the timeline of the resurrection is the inclusion of 2 Sabbath’s in one week. It is assumed that because Mark mentions the Sabbath and Jesus having to be taken down from the cross before the Sabbath that Jesus was crucified on Friday. However, the law states that the first day of a major feast was a High Sabbath. During resurrection week, Jesus was crucified on Passover, the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread which was a High Sabbath. That means this week is special because it had a High Sabbath and a Regular Sabbath which fell on Saturday. Mark 16 is referring to the regular Sabbath. So the timeline would be that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday, buried before end of day (which is the High Sabbath), Thursday is a day of rest, Friday is the day the 2 Mary’s bought spices, Saturday the regular Sabbath and early on Sunday is when… you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out!
Take a moment and consider what the disciples must have been thinking. It’s been nearly 3 days since the crucifixion. Jesus promised to raise from the dead on the third day. That would mean anytime after twilight on Saturday. What would you be thinking? How would you spend your day in anticipation of the resurrection? Would you have thought it’s not going to happen? Would you still be saddened by the death of Jesus? Would you be down at the tomb waiting to see Jesus emerge?
We have every indication from scripture that the disciples didn’t expect Jesus to raise from the dead. The women purchased herbs to anoint the body of Jesus… the dead body of Jesus. Nothing in scripture tells us there was anticipation brewing in their hearts. And thus the Sabbath before the resurrection must have been a long, sad, lull in time. Even though they could not see or feel the power of God at work… God was working to destroy the power of sin and death once and for all! It’s Sabbath, but Sunday’s coming!
Holland Davis, Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel San Clemente