After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now 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. 42So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.” (John 19:38-42)
I find the silence of Holy Saturday deafening.
The torrential downpour of words from Jesus on Thursday (John 13-17), slowed to a few scattered raindrops on Friday. And by Saturday, the heavens had closed up.
As the final cry of “It is finished!” escaped his lips, Jesus gave up his spirit and spoke no more.
The Word “who was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2) had stopped speaking.
The Voice that called forth Lazarus from the grave had fallen silent.
The Author of Life had laid aside his pen, his mouth sealed shut like the tomb in which he lay.
No more will we hear his voice, thought the disciples, numb with despair.
No more will we hear his voice, rejoiced the Pharisees, and all of Hell.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34).
“For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise,” said Jesus in John 5:19.
And on the cross, the Father had been silent.
So now the Son did likewise.
That’s the haunting soundtrack of Holy Saturday. The world turns round on its axis again, in the quiet aftermath of the death of God. Jesus endured silence of the Father, so that you could know the song of the resurrection.
Today is Saturday. But, it is only Saturday.
Sunday is on the way.
“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent…” (Psalm 50:3 NKJV).
This article is an excerpt from Truly, Truly, I Say to You: Meditations on the Words of Jesus from the Gospel of John, published by The Good Book Company.