Before the Third Day
"As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 'Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.'" (Matthew 20:17-19)
Jesus warned His disciples on multiple occasions concerning His impending suffering and death in Jerusalem. Even after receiving such transparent communication, none of the disciples were prepared for Jesus’ betrayal at the hands of Judas, one of the twelve. On that night, the disciples were scattered from Jesus (Matt. 26:56). Some watched from a distance as Jesus was tried and wrongfully crucified, but none were able to prevent His death.
Modern Bible readers will recognize that Jesus did not remain in the tomb, but how depressing and how trying would those first days have been? By “first days,” I mean the days following the death of Jesus, but before His resurrection. He was in the tomb, the disciples were without a guide, and many must have wondered whether Jesus would be raised from the dead at all.
They lived in a time between major events, even if it was only for two days. Christians today live in a time between, as well. We live in a time between the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God (1 Pet. 3:22), and His coming in the clouds to receive the faithful to Himself (1 Thess. 4:16-17). As it was their task to wait faithfully for His resurrection, we also wait faithfully today for the final resurrection. Do not become discouraged because we are living in the first or second day; look with eagerness to the third day.