Edited: April 22, 2019: In the original publication, I mistakenly said that Shabbat begins at sunset and sunrise. This is incorrect. Shabbat begins at sunset Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.

There is this overlooked verse in the story of Jesus’ crucifixion that I am struck by on this day of rest.

It was the day of preparation and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they returned and prepared aromatic spices and perfumes. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Luke 23:54-56

 When it seemed as though their Rabbi had died, they did what they always did. They followed tradition and the commandments laid out by Moses. They prepared for Sabbath and mixed up the aromatic spices and perfumes for the body of Christ.

In their grief and in their misery, the women and disciples of Jesus followed what gave them comfort. They stuck to the rules of their religion — soon the sun would set and Sabbath would begin.

They rested.

The timeline for how Christians celebrate Easter finely makes a little more sense to me.

Thursday is Ground Zero. It’s when Jesus is taken into custody.

Friday is the First Day when Christ is killed and it also happened to be the day of preparation for the Sabbath.

Saturday, the Second Day, is when the Jewish community practiced Sabbath.

Sunday, the Third Day is the day Christ arose.

I know since it’s Easter I should be all focussed on the fact that we celebrate a Risen Savior.

Yet when I heard this morning that Christ showed himself to the women first my eyes were drawn to the last part of Luke 23:56: On the Sabbath they rested according the commandment.

Now on the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb, taking the aromatic spices they had prepared. 

Luke 24:1

Sabbath is from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

As soon as the sun’s first purple-orange rays hit the horizon on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them headed to the site where Christ’s body had been laid to rest.

Early in the morning.

I never realized before that the law of rest trumped the law of tending to the dead.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to be there? As one of the other women?

Don’t be afraid.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

“He’s not here, but has been raised!” ❤