Christ is our substitute in every way; He stands in our place in every stage of life. He was conceived in the womb of the virgin and passed through each and every part of development that you and I did. He was born and grew into a man in the same way as any other human. And then He died and was buried, just as you and I will be. His Body was placed into a tomb, and there it rested, just as our body will when we die. We cannot ignore that little phrase in the Apostle’s creed: “and was buried.” He passes through every stage that we do; He passes through every stage for us, in our place.
His rest in the tomb sanctifies our tombs; it makes them temporary shelters, caverns now filled that will one day be robbed blind. Because Christ rested in the tomb, so must we, but Christ didn’t stay in the tomb. Holy Saturday is the beginning of the Easter celebration. We ended Friday in darkness; today the light begins to dawn. The sun refused to shine as the Son of God hung dying upon the cross; the stone is rolled from the tomb as that same sun rises on a new day, a new week, a new creation. For Christ has risen, the firstfruits of the dead. Christ’s grave is empty, and so shall yours be. Holy Saturday was a day of contradictions; the disciples huddled in fear, expecting to soon share the same fate as their master. The religious leaders, Roman soldiers, and death itself thought that Jesus was dead and gone. Evil thought that it had triumphed, while the godly despaired. But the truth of things was altogether different. Victory had been won on that gory cross. Death had swallowed a poison pill that would destroy it forever. The story wasn’t over, Jesus had triumphed. Soon He would descend to hell to proclaim His victory over Satan Himself, and then would rise to proclaim that same victory to all the world. Now, for Christians, Holy Saturday isn’t a day of despair, it is a day of anticipation. The night will soon be ending, the day is drawing near, for Jesus, for this world, for you and me.