Saturday, April 4, A.D. 33 began for the Jews at what we now consider six o’clock in the evening. It was the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, which God commanded in the law of Moses to be kept as a holy day of rest in memory of the day God rested from his creative cosmic work (Exodus 20:8).
And it was a high Sabbath, because it was the Passover, the high feast which God commanded in the law of Moses to be kept in memory of the night when the blood of an innocent lamb shielded God’s people from his angel of lethal judgment on Egypt (Exodus 12).
But no one yet understood that this Sabbath was far higher than any that had been kept since God’s ancient day of holy rest. And no one yet understood that this Passover was far holier than even the first Passover — that the Egyptian Passover was, in fact, foreshadowing this ultimate Passover.
God Finished His Work
By six o’clock, the Passover Lamb of God had been dead three hours, having been slaughtered on a cross-altar outside the city. Fresh traces of his sacrificial blood still marked moments of agony and horror in the governor’s palace, along the road, and on the ignominious hill called “The Skull.”
Late afternoon on Friday, the Lamb’s body had been courageously secured from Pilate by a member of the Sanhedrin, the very council that had secured from Pilate the Lamb’s execution. And in order to keep this highest of Sabbaths holy, the sympathetic Sanhedrin member, with the covert help of another member, had hastily placed the Lamb that was slain in criminal dishonor in a grave of aristocratic honor (Matthew 27:57–60; John 19:38–42). It was one more twist of providential irony. One more fulfillment of divine prophecy (Isaiah 53:9).
And now, on this highest of holy Sabbaths, beneath a linen shroud, on a cold stone slab behind a large cold stone, lay the body of the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). He had done the holy, horrible work that his Father had asked him to accomplish (John 5:17; 12:27). The Holy One had become unholy so that in him the unholy ones could be made holy (2 Corinthians 5:21). And just as in ancient ages past, so again on the sixth day he had pronounced this part of his genesis work of new creation “finished” (John 19:30). And now, once again, “he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2).
A Rest Like None Other
That the mortal flesh of the immortal Word was undergoing the rest of rigor mortis on this Sabbath following his work of supreme sacrifice was no coincidence. Yet this was a rest like none other. His was the inscrutable rest that only the only wise God could have conceived (Romans 16:27): the holy, disgraceful rest of the sin-cursed death of the blessed, eternally sinless, immortal Son of God.
Written by Jon Bloom
Full story at Desiring God