Divine Service
9:00 a.m. Sunday
7:00 p.m. Wednesday
Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Sunday

Sermo Dei: Holy Saturday Matins, A.D. 2015

Text: Matthew 27:57–66

This morning, let us consider together some of the words of the hymn O Darkest Woe (LSB 448).

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

Joseph of Arimathea could attest to this. He can confirm that this is the truth of the matter. He, a disciple of Jesus, buried Him in the ground, “in his own new tomb.” O sorrow dread! Our God is dead, / Upon the cross extended.

Today is the waiting time. Today proclaims that time when silence and stillness encompass us, that time when we rest from our labors, when we sleep and wait. Today is the day of the sleep of death – Jesus’ death, and ours.

But wherever Jesus is – wherever God is – there He sanctifies. That is, wherever He is, is made holy by His presence. Even the tomb, even death. So Paul can write that death and the grave no longer have any power – they have been defeated by the death of the Son of God. All those things over which we are powerless – sin, death, the devil himself – are overpowered by Christ Jesus. Through what is apparently the great weakness of God, His might and power is shown forth.

O Virgin’s Son, / What Thou hast won / Is far beyond all telling: / How our God, detested, died / Hell and devil felling.

This Saturday can rightly be called “Holy” because this is the day when Jesus rested from His labors – the true Sabbath. This is the day when you can rest assured knowing that even your grave is a holy place for holy things. Joseph can attest to this: it was in his own tomb that Jesus was laid. Christ’s death is so undeniably Joseph’s own. You are a sinner now redeemed and made a holy saint. You have already been in the grave with Jesus. You were buried therefore with Him in baptism.

And tomorrow those marvelous words are spoken – spoken to Jesus, spoken to you. “Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.” “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead…”

This is what He has done for you. Though you die, yet shall you live.


– Pastor Michael Schuermann