Every journey has high points and low points. This pilgrimage is no exception. The symbol of the cross reminds us that Christ conquered death. It is also a sobering reminder that He had to die in order to do it.
The death and burial of Jesus was the all-time low in the history of the world. Christ was taken down from the cross on Preparation Day (the day before the sabbath) and His body was prepared for burial. On the sabbath He lay in the grave. Just as God rested from His work after creation, the Lord’s body rested again following the crucifixion.
We know very little about that sabbath day. The Gospel accounts stop after Jesus was laid in the tomb. They pick up again at the resurrection. The only information in scripture between those times is an account that leaders of the Jewish community met with Pilate to secure the tomb. What else was going on that day? All we know is that the sabbath was observed. Jesus’ followers mourned and waited. Little did they know that they were waiting on God’s victory, which was coming in God’s time.
Robert Lowry was a Baptist preacher well known for his hymns. Here are the words from all three stanzas of Up from the Grave He Arose, also known by its first line Low in the Grave He Lay.
1. Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
2. Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!
3. Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
The refrain to each pair of lines is a jubilant proclamation:
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Christ’s burial is a somber, low point on our journey to the foot of the cross. Take some time to reflect on it, but don’t forget that we will be moving on. The end of the journey lies ahead.
Follow the Path!
[Use with Challenge of Death, day 46 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]