Sabbath Preparation

Sabbath Study, Part 28

Jesus, the man characterized by the Pharisees as a sinner (a glutton, a drunkard, and a Sabbath breaker), suffered and died in the place of sinners (including gluttons, drunkards, and Sabbath breakers). Shortly thereafter, Joseph of Arimathea (a member of the Jewish council and a follower of Christ) had the body of Jesus buried in a stone tomb. All this took place on a Friday.

That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. (Luke 23:54-56)

That day was the preparation.
The hurried manner in which Jesus’ body was taken down and buried is due to the approach of the Sabbath. For the Jews, proper observance of the fourth commandment required preparation before the Sabbath day actually arrived. Once more, their days were reckoned from sunset to sunset, not from morning to morning (as we do today). Thus, the Sabbath began on a Friday evening at sunset and ended on a Saturday evening at sunset (see Lev. 23:32).

And the Sabbath drew near.
“Though they were in tears for the death of Christ, yet they must apply themselves to the sanctifying of the sabbath; and, when the sabbath draws on, there must be preparation. Our worldly affairs must be so ordered that they may not hinder us from our sabbath work, and our holy affections must be so excited that they may carry us on in it” (Matthew Henry).

They rested…according to the commandment.
Even in the midst of an event as paradigm-shattering as the death of their Savior, Jesus’ followers still observed the Sabbath rest, in accordance with the law of the God who had walked with them in the flesh for thirty-three years.

Commentaries Cited from
Hall, Kay.
Online Bible. Beersheba Springs: Ken Hamel, 2000. CD-ROM.

Commentaries Used
An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by Matthew Henry