Every time I see a cave, I think of the empty tomb.
I think about Jesus.
What were His first thoughts as He looked and saw the linens?
The angels as they received that assignment and positioned themselves?
The guards, when the cave started to shake?
Mary, when she realized the tomb was empty?
The questions consume me as much as the curiosity of a cave.
What about you? If you’re not familiar with the story, read a chapter a day from John in the Bible.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions.
This is the Kunjamuk Cave in Speculator, NY, the area I based my contemporary romance, Entrusted, on. Photo credit by CT
Matthew 27 (verse from BibleGateway.com)
The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
I don’t know if it’s a writer thing or just a curious Jesus girl thing but I’d like to know about Saturday. We have details about “Good” Friday where Jesus was crucified. We know all about Resurrection Friday.
So, what do you think Saturday was like?
Matthew 27:62-65 gives us a glimpse and if I close my eyes, I can picture the scene. Those that loved Jesus are devastated and confused. Those that hated him are giving shouts of celebration and recounts of key moments. Government officials are proud, they took down the biggest threat to their government with no fight from this so called king. Barabbas? The real criminal? I imagine he’s overwhelmed with ideas on what to do with his new freedom.
All of them, I can guess, are spending Saturday with one eye over their shoulder.
I bet they all see shadows even in the peek of daytime that cause them to stop everything and look, wonder. Pilate and his officials took tentative steps all day. When Pilate brought a chalice to his lips I’m sure his hand shook. The guards around the tomb exhausted in half the time it usually takes. The mental strain of waiting on the promises will do that.
Barabbas starts dozens of plans to satisfy self but can’t complete one evil idea. He knows where he belongs and he can’t shake it. For all the open spaces and freedom he slinks in a corner, the tomb in view. He wraps his knees to his chest and rocks back and forth. The same position he had in prison.
The devil paces back and forth, anxiety quadrupling with every step and hands over his ears. His minions keep repeating what he already knows.
What about the third day?
He knows God’s word, he just twists it, but he knows. And I suspect he can’t enjoy his victory because he knows it is short lived.
Heaven is muted. A sense of grief and confusion weaves throughout the streets of gold. Something is in the works. But what?
God hid His usual palette of color and painted a bleak gray scene for the world to interact in that Saturday. Shadows and phantom voices stalked everyone who ever heard of or knew Jesus. Anxiety and fear reigned. Guilt and accelerated exhaustion flooded thoughts, plans and celebrations.
That is what I think happened that Saturday.
How about you? What do you imagine happened?
revised post from earlier this month