??the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.? -Matthew 12:40
First, credit to John Stonestreet at Breakpoint.org for spawning this devotional during Holy Week.
You may have thought of the question, ?If Jesus died and was in the tomb by Friday night, spent Saturday there, and rose Sunday morning before the women arrived, how can we say He was in the tomb for three days and three nights??
In ancient and modern counting, sometimes a part counts for the whole. For example, have you ever tried renting a car for half a day? Usually the rental agency charges you by the day.
Or, with the Kentucky Derby coming up, can a colt born late in the calendar year run with next year?s crop? No, a December born colt counts as an entire year, 12 months, 365 days.
You can think of many more instances of where a part counts for the whole. Here is what Stonestreet reminded me.
Jesus was in the tomb an entire day in Jewish reckoning from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, namely the Sabbath.
Jesus kept the law perfectly even down to the last detail of observing the Sabbath.
Jesus had finished all his work of Holy Week, culminating in his dying for our sin on the cross, so he rested on the Sabbath.
We break the law in every possible way. When we think we have kept the law, Jesus clarified in the Sermon on the Mount that to even think immoral thoughts is tantamount to breaking the law.
So, we need a Savior. Someone who will offer up a perfect life in our place. Someone who will die in our place. Jesus accomplished this salvation. Hence, he rested from his work.
Just like creation week in Genesis 1 and 2, Jesus accomplished each day?s work, so he rested on the seventh day.
Stonestreet writes, ?After God incarnate had declared His work on our behalf ?finished?.
He honored the Sabbath once more, just as He had at the beginning of creation. In the tomb, God rested.?
We rest, not in our abilities, or efforts to please God. We find our rest by trusting in the One who accomplished it all for us, Jesus Christ.