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Faith Daily | 3 April 2021

PRAYER of the DAY - Holy Saturday APBA p500

Grant, Lord,

that as we have been baptised into the death

of your dear Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ,

so by continually putting to death our sinful desires

we may die to sin and be buried with him,

and that through the grave and gate of death

we may pass to our joyful resurrection;

for his sake who died, and was buried,

and rose again for us,

your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 27: 57-66

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” 64Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead”, and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ 65Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard* of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’* 66So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Sandra

As evening approached (note it is still Friday: the Sabbath began at sundown) Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, went personally to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. Upon having his request granted, Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and placed it in his own new tomb that had been recently hewed out of solid rock. Rolling a huge stone in front of the entrance, he left, but Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained in front of the tomb.

Roman law allowed relatives of criminals to claim the body for burial. There is speculation that Joseph of Arimathea was the Uncle of Jesus’ mother, Mary. When Isaiah (53:9) spoke of the Suffering Servant, he said “he was assigned a grave.....with the rich in his death”. Jewish custom required that the body of a crucified Jew not remain on the cross overnight but be buried on the same day.(Deut. 21.22-23)

The following day was a Sabbath day (Saturday)and the chief priests and the Pharisees went as a group to Pilate to ask that a guard be set up at the tomb. They well remembered that while Jesus was still alive he had claimed that after three days he would come back to life. Some have wondered why the Jesus’ disciples seem to have forgotten the promise of resurrection while the Jewish Leaders remembered. However, the disciples were bereft with grief and despair at the time.

Pilate tells the leaders to take a guard and to make the tomb as safe as they think is necessary. The Greek echete is imperative (“you have” in the sense of “take a guard/you can have a guard”) rather than indicative (“you have a guard of your own (from the temple) you’ll need no help from me”).

So the Chief Priests and Pharisees secured the tomb by sealing the stone and placing a guard on watch. The stone would be sealed by means of a cord stretched from side to side to side and sealed at each end with clay. The only way the tomb could be empty would be for Jesus to rise from the dead.

The Pharisees failed to understand that no rock, seal, guard or army could prevent the Son of God from rising again.


O God, creator of heaven and earth:

mercifully grant that as the crucified body of your dear Son

was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath

so we may await with him the dawning of the third day,

and rise with him to newness of life;

who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


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