Reflections: Holy Saturday

March 30, 2024 

Today’s Reading: John 19: 38-42

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 13:17-14:9, Hebrews 7:1-22

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.  So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:41-42)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. As Jesus’ body is laid to rest all the world can see is defeat.  That is what the grave shouts from the cemetery.  You can’t see victory at a funeral.  You can’t see victory in the tomb.  You can’t see victory in death.

Harken back to the days of Genesis where God caps off creation with a resounding, “It is very good!” because it is.  There is only life at creation, pure and perfect life in God.  Fast forward to Good Friday and God says something, too, “It is finished!”  But in saying these words it is like He is saying, “It is very good!” because once again there is life.  It seems strange to say, I know, when staring at death’s pale face, but this death, Christ’s death, is good.  It is good in the sense that it is of God and is of the Gospel.  For the death of God in the flesh can only mean one thing:  Life and salvation for all those to whom death draws near. 

And so as God rests in peaceful slumber this Holy Saturday, His work of salvation is finished.  It is good.  It is very good!  And this is a sermon that needs to be preached.  We will hear that sermon tomorrow, but Satan will hear it tonight!  …  In the darkest pits of hell Satan is found cowering in the corner as the Lord of Life comes bursting through its shadowy gates, trampling underfoot any power the demons thought they had.  And Jesus preaches, oh He preaches!  He preaches of His victory!  He preaches of sins forgiven.  He preaches of the Garden where He promised that a serpent’s head would be crushed, and He preaches of the cross where that promise was kept.  He preaches to death itself, that it is dead.  He preaches, “It is finished!” and all our enemies know it to be true.

So rest in peaceful sleep tonight, Jesus.  Your work is now finished.  And we will see you once again in the morning, Easter Sunday, when the stone is rolled away and the tomb is left empty forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O darkest woe!  Ye tears, forth flow!  Has earth so sad a wonder?  God the Father’s only Son Now is buried yonder.  Thy Bridegroom dead!  God’s Lamb has bled Upon thy sin forever, Pouring out His sinless self In this vast endeavor.  (LSB 448:1,4)

– Pastor Eli Lietzau is pastor of Wheat Ridge Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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