Please read the first blog post entitled “Why Fast?” This explains what fasting is and why we follow Jesus in this spiritual discipline as together we seek the heart of God.
Each day during our 21 Days, we will focus on one part of the ACTS prayer acronym – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. We will spend between 3-5 days on each part of the ACTS prayer acronym. Each devotion will take less than ten minutes of your time.
Engage the Word
62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard[j] of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
Today is Saturday. Matthew is the only gospel that records a narrative on the Saturday between Jesus’ death on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday. This part of the story is one of the most important proofs of the historicity of Christ’s resurrection. Because the fearful Pharisees and the power-hungry Romans collaborated to secure the tomb by sealing the 2-ton stone and setting a Roman guard to keep watch, there is no natural explanation for the tomb being empty on Sunday. The Romans could never risk their reputation by allowing anyone to sneak past their powerful guard to attempt to break the seal and roll the stone away. And even if a bribe was paid to get to the tomb, there is still a 2-ton stone that would have to be rolled up an incline – impossible on so many levels.
The only explanation is that the stone was supernaturally rolled away and the resurrected Jesus simply walked out. And the guards were powerless to stop it. But that’s for tomorrow…
Reflect on the Truth
- The followers of Jesus must have been struggling with doubt on this day, the day after His death and the day before His resurrection. Doubts are both real and understandable. Ask the Lord to reveal to you those areas where you still doubt Him, and ask Him to show you the truth that can dispel those doubts.
- At this point, all of the disciples were struggling. They felt defeated. Their rabbi – the one in whom they had placed their trust for three years – was dead. In the sealed and guarded tomb. It was a long, sad day – because they felt duped. They didn’t know what was coming on Sunday. They must have felt lost. Have you ever been able to relate to the disciples in this way?
Depend on the Spirit
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that those thoughts are pointing to. (For example: you may write down, “Lord, like the disciples, I sometimes have my doubts. Sometimes this journey of faith is hard to understand. Help my unbelief.”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His word, His Spirit, His people.
As we conclude our devotional time, let us each pray that God will, by His Spirit, enable us to enter into a deep appreciation for what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.
Content from these devotionals has been adapted from various resources, including The Bible Speaks Today commentary series by John Stott, Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary by Derek Kidner, Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary by Tremper Longman and others.