Holy Saturday is a day like no other. Not exactly a day of mourning, and not exactly a day of joy. Rather, the day seems to me to be quite like a rather long instance of holding one’s breath. It is a day of waiting, where Creation itself pauses in anticipation of what is to come.
Interestingly, there is only one short Gospel passage which addresses this day, from Matthew:
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 what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
It makes sense that Matthew’s Gospel would address this, however. It was written primarily for a Jewish audience, and so those who heard the Gospel would have had questions. They would have heard what the Jewish leaders later said about these events, and so we have this passage here to help explain it. Coupled with the other parts, of course, after the resurrection.
What is important to note, though, is that the Jewish leaders and Pharisees set a seal on the stone. The stone was not the stone that bound Jesus, however. It was the stone that was their heart. They had closed themselves off to the power and mercy of God. And they let nothing attempt to break through to reach them. Let us not follow in their example.