Holy Week #7: Were they counting to three?

Holy Saturday – there is little in the scripture about this day. We can imagine that the disciples, those that loved Jesus were mourning. They were no doubt confused, their faith shaken. Maybe they remembered words that Jesus had spoken about His death – maybe they did not.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Matthew 16:21

Right after the famous passage, when Christ asked his disciples who people thought He was and Peter confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus spoke prophetic words to His disciples, warning them that He would suffer. Were they counting to three?

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 12:40

But in their grief and the quiet meditation of the Sabbath, they may not be remembering those words … at least not yet. But there was another prophetic teaching that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees when they were asking for a sign – could the disciples be thinking about Jonah? Were they counting to three?

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:9-11

As I think about this verse, pondering today in quiet, the death of Jesus, His resting in the earth, I can’t help but wonder was He singing? Jonah composed a song of praise while in the belly of the fish. Did Jesus compose a song of victory? Could Jesus have been singing from Psalm 16?

O darkest woe! 
Ye tears, forth flow!
Has earth so sad a wonder,
That the Father’s only Son
Now is buried yonder!

O sorrow dread!
Our God is dead,
He paid our great redemption.
Jesus’ death upon the cross
Gained for us salvation.

O sinful man!
It was the ban
Of death on thee that brought Him
Down to suffer for thy sins
And such woe hath wrought Him.

O Ground of faith,
Laid low in death!
Sweet lips. now silent sleeping:
Surely all that live must mourn
Here with bitter weeping.

O blest shall be
Who oft in faith will ponder
Why the glorious Prince of Life
Should be buried yonder.

O Jesus blest,
My Help and Rest,
With tears I now entreat Thee:
Make me love Thee to the last,
Till in heaven I greet Thee!

Translator: Catherine Winkworth; Author: Johann von Rist (1637)
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