THE MAN NAMED JOSEPH OF ARIMATHAEA could not have possibly slowed his stride to mull over the fragrant herbs and wildflowers presently dressing the outskirts of the road, dotting the hillsides surrounding Jerusalem in deeply penetrating shades of red and purple, nor the lavish pink and white blossoms ornamenting Judah’s trees and shrubs, as he hurried towards Pontius Pilate’s praetorium, carefully rehearsing exactly what he intended to say. When he stood before Pilate and asked for the body of Christ, we do not know how easily or even why the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea was persuaded to meet his request. As a condemned soul, Jesus of Nazareth belonged to the state. Romans rarely accommodated funerals. If not for Joseph’s wealth of influence, and more than likely the Pharisee Nicodemus, who may very well have been a friend of the governor, Christ’s crucified corpse was otherwise expected to be abandoned at the final station of the cross, nails wedged between his wrists while His flesh decomposed and crows pecked at the bloating meat. What remained of Him, several days later, would have been discarded into a pit. Did Pilate immediately shoo Joseph off with a whisk of his fingertips, merely hoping that his headache would end, or delay the inevitable with a heavy sigh of contemplation? These are details which we will never know.
They Ate Passover with Their Shoes On (and Buried the Lamb of God in Haste)
No doubt, a receipt or sealed document of written approval needed to be produced in order that Joseph might present the soldiers at Golgotha with proof that he was granted the authority and rare privilege to dispose of Jesus. This in itself, the bureaucracy in Jerusalem and also at Golgotha, would have taken time. Upon hastening his return to the place of the skull, the sun was likely already dangerously pressed upon the horizon, bloated and red like the corpse of a fallen orange, and for Joseph, seemingly sprinting on its endless circuit through the heavens, as if gathering its second wind so as to expedite the advent of Sabbath. On a preparation day such as this, riddled with treacherous twists and turns, each and every remaining moment was a foe.
No time for flower picking.
We are not told if Roman guards bothered to aide Joseph in removing the condemned man from the cross, nor where he acquired the tools to pry the four to five inch nails from the hands and feet. Many of the details of that dreadful day are absorbed by the grief of His loved ones and otherwise lost by those who scorned and ultimately hoped to forget Him—keep the man buried, if you will. What we do know for certain is that Jesus died at the ninth hour—approximately 3 pm. Within three hours, before nightfall, His body would be entrusted into the care of Joseph and Nicodemus—this we have already established—transported and then laid into a nearby tomb.
The garden containing the sepulcher, one which had been hewn into a rock at the instructions of Joseph but had yet to secure a body, was in all probability within sight of Christ’s crucifixion. Joseph also afforded the opportune moment to purchase a linen sheet, an underappreciated task on a preparation day such as this, which Nicodemus then filled with a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes before wrapping Jesus within, as was the custom of the Jews (John 19:39-40). Furthermore, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus apparently never left His side for a moment. They accompanied the Savior from the cross to the sepulcher, and observed the entire process, or as Luke put it: “saw the tomb and how His body was laid.”
Matthew records the event as follows:
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher.
Mark’s account reads:
46 And he [Joseph of Arimathea], bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher.
47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph beheld where he was laid.
According to Luke:
54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
And then, finally, John:
39 And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.
40 And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
His few remaining loved ones must have felt as though they stood outside of time, and that the world itself, bent on Passover festivities and Sabbath preparation, was passing them expeditiously as they prepared His body for burial in the little time—the seemingly impossible three hours—that the remaining day allowed.
Then again, Passover itself was a meal eaten in haste—shoes on, bags packed. This is my body, broken for you. Without ever knowing it, they had prepared for this moment their entire life.
Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is Yahweh’s Passover.
Indeed, the road to Golgotha and the nearby garden tomb which preceded it was skirted with fragrant herbs and wildflowers, the heartwarming colors and scents of spring which ornamented the annual festivities surrounding one of Israel’s holiest weeks. Never could they have possibly imagined that an untold number of the Messiahs devoted followers, sewing together the embroidery of two consecutive millenniums, would give everything they had simply to stop and pick those flowers—more precisely, every detail.
We wish to peer in upon the unlawful nighttime trial of Jesus, the smirks of satisfaction filling the cheekbones of those who numbered His stripes, the jeers of the crowd forming the sidelines of His procession towards Calvary. We wish to count how many times, in his indecisiveness, Pilate entered and exited his inner-cave, his praetorium, in order to speak privately with Jesus or pronounce His innocence to the crowd. We wish to sit around the fire with Peter and hear the chilling crow of the rooster—that and so much more. We wish to gaze into the crowd of scoffers, while the Passover lamb hangs upon His crucifixion device, and number the familiar faces of those who remained loyal to Him. We wish to behold the brays of the dogs and the cries of a toddler and the tears of the women; to wear the pitch of darkness as a cloak, the tremor of the earth as shoes for our feet and leggings for our bones; to find the bed which His disciples were hiding under and sleep in it. We wish to know where Jesus was pierced for our transgressions and end the question, were the nails dug into His wrist or hand? And what sort of crucifixion device did he hang upon—was it a cross shaped as an upper or lowercase “T” or a steak or simply the warped contortions of a tree? So many questions left unanswered by the confusion, horror, and grief of that day, the historical shroud and cultural confusion circulating today, and two-thousand years of the bittersweet wedged between.
But most of all, we simply wish to behold the Savior hung upon the tree on that terrible dark day. We wish to peer through the veil of antiquity and remain there, as though standing outside of time, endlessly staring at His stripes of healing.
Unbeknownst to them, these are the daffodils which we wish to explore.
The very moment His body was finally secured in the garden sepulcher, we can only imagine the sun had vanished over the horizon to the grinding sound of a large stone securing its entrance. Every detail was accomplished and fulfilled without a moment to spare. It would be understandable if Joseph and Nicodemus deplored the disciples who had abandoned their task, essentially the last command their Lord had instructed them, to keep a watch over Him, while they accomplished these things. These, like countless other questions, are the unknown daffodils.
What does however seem certain, as they sealed the tomb, is that the dream itself, the coming kingdom of God which they had invested their very being in, was buried with Him.
This was the thorn-laced rose which they wearily carried home.
Bury Him Till He’s Dead — A Pharisaical Showdown on High Sabbath
IT WAS STILL DARK WHEN THE COCKCROW rustled Pontius Pilate from sleep. His servant would have been there, quietly standing by, to guide his feet into his shoes, hold up an outer tunic or toga while his head and arms slung through, and then to open the shutters so as to allow the cool grey light of spring to spill in. A slave would have offered a brass pot so that the fifth prefect of the Roman providence of Judea might splash his face, polish his teeth, and make sure that his nails were clean. A mirror might also suffice. Fires were lit. A straightforward meal would be awaiting him. His favored gods, Apollo likely held in highest esteem, would be prayed to. And then court would open at dawn.
For Pontius Pilate, it was business as usual.
On the day prior, he had crucified the king of the Jews, and already—perhaps by the third crow of the rooster—the chief priests and Pharisees were making their way up the hill to vex him with headaches.
Jesus of Nazareth hadn’t been buried but twelve hours and already they were troubled. In the streets of Jerusalem, they assured the governor, there was talk. Among the alacrity which defined the Passover meal’s annual consumption, people spoke of resurrection. Anticipation wisped through laundry lines like a breeze. Clearly, a conspiracy was underfoot. This did not bode well for all establishments involved. Had Herod and Pilate’s spies been thorough in their report, the Jews may have insinuated, he should have been made well aware that Jesus, under no uncertain terms, openly declared His resurrection.
“DESTROY THIS TEMPLE, AND IN THREE DAYS I WILL RAISE IT UP….”
That being said, did he, Pilate, know what he was doing by entrusting the care of the crucified criminal, or the deceiver, as they called Him, into the hands of that Josephus fellow? And let’s not forget Nicodemus, the very soul who visited Jesus by night and then likely reported back to Pilate all that was discussed between them. Was Pilate the very first man to receive the John 3:16 memorandum (which included the matter of being born again), and yet he still haphazardly pardoned His body?
Perhaps Emperor Tiberius should hear of his negligence regarding state property. That is, unless Pilate take action.
“Command therefore that the sepulcher be made secure until the third day,” they said, “otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
“You have a guard,” he said. “Now go, and make it as secure as you know how.”
EVERYTHING ABOUT THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF JESUS was plagued with irregularities. As Joseph of Arimathea hastened through the bustling streets of Jerusalem towards Pilate’s office, hoping that the body of Christ might be entrusted to him, Roman soldiers began breaking the legs of the convicted criminals. Likewise, the Jews were swapping their own gaze, and the footing necessary, between Calvary and the man who grudgingly agreed to crucify Him. On one such return to Pilate’s praetorium, they asked that Jesus, and those crucified with Him, not remain on the cross by nightfall. Had Jesus remained alive another day or two longer, He may have met sharp blows to the front of his chest with weapons of torture, or a smoking fire, manufactured at the base of His crucifixion appliance, in order to escallop His skin and ultimately asphyxiate Him. Despite their hatred of Christ, the Jews could not leave Him hanging on a tree. On this matter, the Law unequivocally states:
22 If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree,
23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.
Then again, as the true Passover lamb, Jesus was shown blameless before His accusers. And besides, the Roman soldier, breaking the legs of the first man, followed by the thief who was promised to inhabit paradise, or rather, heaven on earth with Christ, then turned towards Jesus and found that He was already dead (John 19:33). No further action was required. This is keeping in prophetic step with the Psalmist David when he wrote: “He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken (Psalm 34:20).” Never mind the fact that Judah’s ruling council had already broken laws in their treatment of Him. They had other reasons to request that His legs be crushed, if not to quarrel with David’s choice Messiah. The Sabbath drew on (Luke 23:54).
John records it like this:
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
The Sabbath he spoke of here wasn’t any ordinary weekly Sabbath. John recorded an annual high Sabbath, a cyclic moon-structured event which could land on any day of the week. Despite the pallet of details Joseph and Nicodemus casually glazed over on their jaunt to and from Jerusalem and finally towards the Sepulcher, stopping perhaps only to wipe the sweat from their brow or catch their breath, this wasn’t one of them. What followed was the first day of Unleavened Bread. Everyone involved knew this fact—hence the reason for momentum. John, as well as the Jews who stood before Pilate, would have us direct our attention towards the Law.
15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.
Elsewhere in the Law we read:
4 These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.
5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.
6 Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.
By doing so—by stating that sunset would usher in a high Sabbath rather than a weekly one, John has afforded us with an exquisite detail regarding the peculiars of Jesus’ death and resurrection, one which most laymen have never become intimately familiar with. This is likely due to the fact that clerics, educated in universities scrubbed by Roman doctrine, shrug responsibility, even when recognizing what is spelled out before them. In 31 AD, Passover fell on a Wednesday—the 14th of Nissan, or the 25th of April according to the Gregorian calendar. Though the Gregorian date itself is immaterial, per chance missing the x-mark due to the indecisive, often conflicting calendars streaming from time immemorial, the day in which He died is important—and even more paramount to this discussion, the day in which He resurrected.
Everything in Scripture points to the seventh and last day of the created week.
SOME MONTHS EARLIER JESUS WAS PASSING THROUGH the grainfields on Sabbath when His disciples began picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees apparently had the eyes of a hawk. They noticed, as they so often did, and took umbrage.
Any number of them declared to the Lord: “Look at your disciples! Why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
Jesus responded: “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry—how he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests. Did he not also give it to those who were with him?”
To this He would add: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
One can only wonder if the Saviors words pricked at the back of their necks, rung through their ears, and haunted the inner drum of their skulls as they entered the garden where Joseph of Arimathea had placed him, as were Pilate’s orders, bringing a guard in tow. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. The very men who once revoked Christ’s authority for healing a shriveled hand on the Sabbath played the part of the hypocrite when they went about securing their own future fortunes on a Sabbath—and a high Sabbath, at that.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
It was a Thursday, high Sabbath, Unleavened Bread—One night down, three days to go. His very words hung like a jacket in the pink of dawn as they set a seal of Rome (a mark of the beast, if you will) upon the stone, assuring that no one, not even the women from Galilee, might enter. Then again, that is not to say, despite Rome’s undisputed jurisdiction, that her seal forbid anyone from leaving.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
Not if they could help it.
Last Judgement of the Sanhedrin, a Second Sabbath on Trial, and the Mystery of the Omitted Evidence
THAT DOGGONE ROOSTER MIGHT AS WELL HAVE cock-a-doodle-doo’d directly into Peter’s foredoomed skull as the creature rustled everyone’s feathers from bed. Its announcement ushered in a most peculiar Friday. As the sixth day of the week and second of unleavened bread, it was tightly wedged between two separate Sabbaths. The high Sabbath had already passed, and in the hours which remained, there was much which needed done. Places of employment opened with the pink and purple of dawn. By the first or second hour of the day, Jerusalem must have felt airless when as many as a million pilgrims, a throng of which had declared Jesus to be their Passover lamb some six days earlier, began surging back into her streets. The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee were counted among them. They gathered together to purchase spices, the Gospels inform us, so that Christ might be anointed in the sepulcher. For most, that terrible nightmare, the crucifixion of the man who claimed to be the Son of man, was over. With the cockcrow, trade work commenced, Pilate sat in court, Judas Iscariot swayed with the breeze of his noose, and Peter remained in hiding—business as usual.
Then again, there was one irregularity which needed tending.
Two days earlier, at the very moment in which Jesus yielded up the ghost, the earth quaked, and the rocks were split (Matthew 27:51). It was an earthquake of such magnitude capable of breaking the stone lintel at the top of the entrance to the Hekel—the Holy Place. During this quake, the gates of the Holy Place swung open with violent gusto. According to the Talmud, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai was incapable of any physical action, except to rebuke them.
“Hekel! Hekel!” He cried, “Why alarmist thou us?”
The veil which separated the holy of holies from the Temple was thirty feet long and perhaps just as tall, and was so thick—an entire handbreadth by most sources—it is often concluded that no two horses could have pulled them apart. When the colossal doors of the Temple swung open, seemingly of their own accord, the lintel fell, and the veil was torn in two. By the Talmud’s own account, the earthquake itself was outmatched only by the judgement of God.
In that moment of panic, Yohanan ben Zakkai added: “We know that thou art destined to be destroyed…!”
It is only now, come Friday morning, that the Sanhedrin could explore the extent of the damage. Their chamber was situated no more than 40 yards away from the lintel and the curtain which fell and was town in two. The Gospels certainly suggest the spiritual implications resulting from the earthquake, particularly the curtain, but not its magnitude. The Talmud fills in the gaps. “Forty years before the destruction of the Temple,” the Talmud records, “the Sanhedrin was banished” from the Chamber of Hewn Stone. The earthquake, it seems, had brought them to ruin. For the remainder of their Second Temple dynasty, the Sanhedrin convened in the trading-station, and afterwards in Galilee. As a direct result of this, specifically their sudden expulsion from their Supreme Court chambers to the shopping mall, the Talmud further explains that the Sanhedrin ceased to judge capital offences. We can easily glean one important fact from this divine appointment, which the Talmud itself expressly overlooks. Though it is true that they had determined to crucify Jesus during the middle of the night, specifically while illegally convening at Caiaphas’s house, they made it official in the Chamber of Hewn Stone. The very last judgement of death made by the Sanhedrin was against Jesus of Nazareth.
And the rooster was there to witness it.
Immediately after the cockcrow, and moments before Jesus was led into the Chamber of Hewn Stone, the Lord turned towards Peter and pierced him through with a stare so penetrating that it has been felt through the ages. Then Peter remembered, and he fled, weeping bitterly.
At any rate, while the women purchased spices in the congestion of Jerusalem’s streets, the Sanhedrin inspected the damage. Meanwhile, dangling over the Potter’s field (a property purchased with Temple money), Judas Iscariot’s internal organs were only now beginning to decompose. Within another 24 hours, his flesh would begin to bloat and discolor and eventually—if the rope and the branch he tied it to were strong enough to hold him—double in size. Much might be said of Judas. For one, it would have been better that he was never born. It would be difficult to conclude however that he did not recognize a grievous error after the deed was committed. Contrarily, if the realization set in as to what they had done, the Sanhedrin certainly weren’t moved towards repentance. Ironically, that was a rather rare character trait at Passover.
Meanwhile, come Friday, the Gospel of Mark records only one event.
And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him.
Once again, it is only after the high Sabbath (John 19:3) that the women bought spices. Though it is true that Joseph of Arimathea purchased a burial cloth on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, there is no indication that the women ever left His side. They couldn’t have possibly purchased spices the day after His death, because all the shops were closed. This was a Friday, two days after the fact, and where their purchase off spices is concerned, Luke’s Gospel adds one important detail—often overlooked. The spices and ointments which they had purchased after the high Sabbath were then prepared before the weekly Sabbath.
54 And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.
55 And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how His body was laid.
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.
A most peculiar Friday indeed—and yet a day testified to us in the Gospels of Mark and Luke only through the most uncommon (and, as church doctrine would have it, omitted) though undoubtedly most important of eyewitness details. Spices and ointment. With exhibit A and exhibit B, the closed case surrounding the timing of Christ’s burial and the mystery of duration takes a sudden unexpected turn, and needs to be reopened. Did Jesus die on a Friday and resurrect two days later on Easter Sunday?
The answer is No He did not.
It is the 16th of Nissan, the day in which the women from Galilee undoubtedly anticipated finishing the assignment left incomplete during Passover. It was however a day of rude awakenings unlike any other. A guard and a Roman seal prevented them from their task. While Judas dangled from his rope, the Sanhedrin remained hell-bent in the wreckage of their minds—to make absolutely certain that their very last death sentence was seen through to the third day and beyond.
Conclusively, the women had no choice, the Gospel of Luke assures us, but to rest on the weekly Sabbath, the second Sabbath, and then try again on the very first day of the week. The man in the tomb, as we well know, never received the spices they hoped to deliver.
And yet in light of the spices, let us not also forget, if exhibit A and B have anything to say about Christ’s most spectacular prophecy, which I shall turn to in a moment, then Jesus had no intention of waiting around for the first day of the week.
A Fourth Day Reality — Discovering the Sign of Jonah On the Road to Emmaus
EMMAUS WAS A ROAD OF DEFUNCT DREAMS and paved with disillusionment. In Jerusalem, whispers of resurrection had dripped down the alleyways. Anticipation ran high. But no more. During His ministry, Jesus had been accused of casting our demons by the power of Beelzebub. After one man possessed with a devil, blind and dumb, was brought before Him, the Gospel of Matthew records, he both spake and saw. The people were amazed. Indignation however filled the ranks of the scribes and Pharisees. They demanded something more from Him. They needed a sign from heaven.
Jesus answered: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
The man who fled from Nineveh, His critics well knew, had incurred Yahweh’s anger and fallen prey to the sort of Tannin sea monster narrative commonly told around Canaanite, Phoenician, and Hebrew campfires. The prophet remained three days and three nights in the belly of the fish—and more. His critics were undoubtedly made aware from a young age, perhaps excited by Tannin stories themselves, that the ghastly portrayal of Jonah’s own prayer gave credence to another likelihood altogether.
To this effect the prophet wrote:
“I descended to the roots of the mountains.
The earth with its bars was around me forever,
But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Yahweh my God.”
As if rehearsing Jonah’s own prayer, Jesus informed His critics: “So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Thing is, the scribes and the Pharisees never really wanted a sign from heaven—not from Jesus of Nazareth, anyhow. If only they could trip Him up—use His own words against Him. If only the people could see and hear with their peripheral senses that Jesus was not the Passover lamb whom John the Baptizer claimed Him to be.
Destroy this temple and He’d rebuild it in three days? No—no—this was evidence they’d use against Him. Just to prove Him wrong, they’d crucify the son of a carpenter. And just to play it safe, they’d place a guard and a Roman seal upon His tomb.
Jesus was buried in the earth, just as He said He would, on a Wednesday, moments or even seconds before sundown. One night and one day later and high Sabbath came to an abrupt end. Two nights and two days later and the sun set on Friday. There was a third night which needed accounted for, and then Sabbath, introduced by the cockcrow—the third day. In Jerusalem, whispers wafted from windowsills. Just wait for it, the sign of Jonah…. This was simple math. One…. Two…. Three…. And yet the hours groveled in defiance of their hopes. Sabbath crawled by. What if they were wrong? No, just wait…There’s still time for the sign from heaven He promised. The sun once more dipped over the Mediterranean, and night four was upon them. Nothing happened. Jesus did not hold to His promises. He was not the son of man, Lord of the Sabbath. He was not even comparable to the prophet Jonah. At least Jonah was spewed from a fish—or was it a Tannin? The son of a carpenter was only a dead man—or so it seemed.
On the fourth day, hours after the rooster had alerted everyone to the first day of the week, the two men walking towards Emmaus had no choice but to tell the stranger, “Three days have already passed since all these events occurred.”
Then again, if the Messianic dream seemed breathless, it’s only because they hadn’t heard the news. At the sight of the angel, the soldiers who guarded the tomb had already fallen over as dead men. The Gospel according to Luke documents what happened next:
1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.
3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
Similarly, the Gospel according to Mark records:
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?”
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were frightened.
Mary Magdalene and the women from Galilee had returned to the sepulcher earlier that morning, while it was still dark, bringing the spices which they had purchased and prepared two days earlier, and saw that the stone had been rolled away. The sun had not yet risen, writes John. It was still dark. The first hour of the day had yet to dawn on the first day of the week. The rooster had yet to crow. The soldiers lay on the floor as though paralyzed. Or perhaps they had fled the scene. And most importantly of all, the tomb was empty.
While the sun dipped over Jerusalem on the third day, and the twelfth hour drew to a close, the son of God opened His eyes and then sat up out of bed. Give it a few moments and an angel or two would tend to Him.
Indeed, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.