Mark 16:1 “When the Sabbath was over…”

Observation: The sentence goes on to say that very early the morning after Sabbath’s end, three women who loved Jesus set out for His tomb to anoint His body. Christ had been crucified the day before Sabbath, His body quickly rushed from Cross to tomb so as to not violate the Sabbath. Now, Sabbath was over.

Application: It is not hard to imagine what Sabbath had been like for these women and for Christ’s disciples. This routine day of rest must have held unending rivers of tears and sorrow over the loss of a dear friend whom they knew to be so much more. How many times would their minds have replayed the scourging, the mockings, and the nailing of sinless hands and feet? Surely the day’s brutality haunted hearts now bereft of all comfort.

But imagine the very different Sabbath being celebrated in the Temple. The chief priests presided over ceremonies that made a mockery of the Law now dead on a cross. They had prevailed over God, their enemy. As they continued through the familiar service they stuck to liturgy and form now become an abomination to God. Never deviating from the printed bulletin—“Turn in your hymnals to page 364,” they might have intoned, “and let us sing of the coming Messiah.”

Would the blood of Christ now on their hands have stained the scroll as fingers followed ancient text? How did they explain the torn curtain at their backs, now revealing to all the emptiness of the holy of holies? “Poor workmanship,” they might have announced; “We’ll hire a team of seamstresses to repair it as soon as Sabbath ends.”

Two groups. I am called to choose moment by moment to affiliate with one or the other. Shall I be counted among those whose tenderized hearts left them in abject grief? Or would I best fit with the elites making excuses, ignoring the obvious poverty of their lives?

To my shame I must confess I have apparently not made a once-and-for-all choice. Christ has drawn me to increasing intimacy with Him; I have known His sheltering wings, His mercy. His loving gaze has left me utterly undone as we have spent time savoring one another’s whispered affirmations. Yet the elite still have power to tempt. I am not yet immune to the world’s tugs toward emptiness. It seems I can still find a vacant mask to don when my heart wanders.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is in those seasons of rushing that I seem most prone to hire seamstresses to hide my phoniness. Things become too important; projects too pressing. Thank You, Lord, for Your gentle drawing back into the company of those who delight to wait on You, to value the eternal over the temporal. Your manifest presence is more desirable to me than gold.

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