“After these things Joseph of Arimathea,.. asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid, [Joseph’s] own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there [and] rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.
“The next day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate… Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” Matthew 27:60,62,65-66; John 19:38-20:1
Birds fill the pink cotton air the morning after Good Friday, punctuating the cool breeze with chatter and song of a dozen melodies. Wind chimes ding their rich tones as backdrop to the natural aviary that is our backyard and beyond. The day after the crucifixion was silent, a Sabbath rest of numbing realization that it had not been a dream, Jesus really was dead, buried, gone forever. There was not a sound in that sealed tomb. But this side of that silent, we sing.
We sing remembering the tomb carved in rock and what was buried there- all sin and accompanying pain, regret, and sorrow. Every wicked impulse, every ungodly thought, every alien affection for anything other than holy God. The unblemished sacrifice of atonement, the agonizing wage of sin, was my Savior, crucified and buried for me. When Jesus declared “It is finished,” He put to death sin’s power over my brain, my body, my emotions, my tendencies. This side of the tomb I’m free to live fully for Him.
We sing rejoicing that Jesus lives, endlessly for us and with us as our Advocate and Defender. This side of the open tomb we are secure forever, never to be separated from Christ’s love or snatched from His hand. (John 10:28; Romans 8:31-39)
This side of silent I am compelled to sing of my great Redeemer, with robust thanksgiving and victory’s gladness.
What has that Saturday’s silence freed in us?
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!” ~Charles Wesley (1738)
My Lord, with a regular spiritual discipline of silence, may I take time to repent, and remember the quiet tomb, then break forth (as You did!) with joyful song.