Today’s reflection comes from Cosmin Pascu
62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
The day in-between
Jesus was buried. The chief priests and some of the Pharisees were not satisfied that the King of Israel was dead and buried. They wanted to make sure that there will be no resurrection! They wanted Jesus to stay in the grave. They wanted to control Jesus’ destiny and His kingship. Death to them was not enough. Crucifying Jesus was not enough. They considered Jesus an ‘impostor’. Searching for the disciples was not enough. They were raged. Their indignation could not be contained. They were certainly ruled and controlled by the ruler of darkness and of the destroyer of life, Satan the prince of darkness. He is still present in the lives of many. He is still active. He, like in the days of Jesus, controls the lives of those who do not follow Jesus.
These verses highlight an ‘in-between’ time, from Christ crucifixion and death to His resurrection. This ‘in-between’ time continued to be a day of torment and uncontrollable suffering. It continued to be a time where the tone of accusation intensified (see verse 63). For some, the death of Jesus was not sufficient. In this ‘in-between’ time the followers of Jesus were dispersed. Fear and shame captivated their whole being. They were a group of people who soon were left with the imprint on their minds that they have become nothing but losers. To them, it seemed that the prince of this world won over the battle. From being publicly recognised, they suddenly became unimportant. Their good teacher was dead. He was buried. In that moment of terror and persecution, it felt that there was not going to be a comeback. The miracles they performed with Jesus, and their well-earned status, have suddenly collapsed. Imagine the magnitude of the loss that they have suffered.
Due to Covid19, we can maybe try and understand and relate to this. We live ‘in-between’ times. Times of fear and death. Times of a new life for others, whilst for others, it is a time of mourning. This ‘in-between’ time presents us with two very clear defining events in the life of every follower of Jesus. The unjust death of God’s only Son and His triumphant resurrection over death. Both of these events are for me and for you a powerful reminder that our daily existence is very much possible due to Jesus taking our place on the cross. His body gave up its last breath for me and for you. But unlike those who have died, three days later, He defied death and Satan by returning to life again. The chief priests and the Pharisees could not confine the King of Kings to a grave. They failed in their attempt.
This, therefore, is not an ordinary Easter celebration. We may be terrified by a virus that has killed many. Many will remember it for its lockdown, for its seclusion from the community and from one another. Yet, this is not the first time when this experience, of being separated, happened. The disciples were afraid. They were lost and fearful. Would they be next? Our Easter should not be an ordinary event. It should be distinguished and distinct from any other event. Jesus enters our home and asks of us to welcome Him to our table. He is asking us to sit down with Him and have an open conversation. He knows that we are afraid. He knows that we are social distancing from others, yet He is asking for our attention. He is asking us to make a commitment to do life together with Him. This means that our priorities should be in tune with His and not the devil or his representatives on earth. In this ‘in-between’ moment we look for tomorrow, for God’s powerful intrusion over death, and bringing His beloved Son from human death to divine resurrection. This is our King.
Have a wonderful Easter.