This verse is so ordinary, so mundane. It could be found anywhere in scripture. It could be applied to any of our lives.
But on this resurrection morning, during a pandemic, when life fees so extraordinarily unusual, I read it in the middle of the passion story. Ordinary in the middle of super extraordinary. (Luke 23:56b) These women went to see where Jesus had been laid. They had just watched him die a gruesome, horrible death. They watched him be forsaken by God, rejected by friends, betrayed by his enemies and tortured by those in control. They went and saw where he was laid. There was so much to be done and, at the same time, nothing to do. In our striving we do what we think can. (They went to prepare spices and ointments – what do I do?) But in the face of death, there is nothing we can do. We are powerless.
What did these women do next?
“On the Sabbath they rested, according to the commandment.” They obeyed the commandment. Just a few days before all of these events, they were celebrating the high holy day of Passover with those they most cherished all together. And in the midst of the celebration the disciples had heard Jesus teach that “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
And so, they did what they always did. They rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
And while they rested in ordinary obedience and thereby showed their love to God, what was God doing?
He was preparing to do the most extraordinary act of love. He was about to turn the world upside down. He was getting ready to defeat that last enemy – Death.
And so, when we struggle with the chaos and despair of situations that are beyond our control, and when we are relegated to ordinary obedience in the mundane, we can remember the promise that comes on the third day.
“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor. 15:25-26
God is working. God is moving. He is King.