Question: "What is Holy Saturday?"
Answer: Holy Saturday is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some Christians recognize Holy Saturday, the seventh day of Holy Week, as the day on which Jesus “rested” from His work of providing salvation. As Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” There was no further price to pay; sin had been atoned for.
After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there the entirety of Holy Saturday (Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53-54; John 19:39-42). Churches that celebrate Holy Saturday traditionally do so by observing a day of somber reflection as they contemplate the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.
Indeed, without the resurrection of Christ, we would be in dire straits. If Christ had never been raised, “your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The disciples had scattered when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:50), and they spent the first Holy Saturday hiding for fear of also being arrested (John 20:19). The day between Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection would have been a time of grief and shock as the stunned disciples tried to understand the murder of Jesus, the betrayal of Judas, and the dashing of their hopes.
The only biblical reference to what happened on Holy Saturday is found in Matthew 27:62-66. After sundown on Friday—the day of Preparation—the chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate. This visit was on the Sabbath, since the Jews reckoned a day as starting at sundown. They asked Pilate for a guard for Jesus’ tomb. They remembered Jesus saying that He would rise again in three days (John 2:19-21) and wanted to do everything they could to prevent that. As we know, the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection, and the women who returned to the tomb Sunday morning found it empty. The Lord had risen.