Today, the day after Good Friday and before Resurrection Sunday has always been an interesting one for me. It’s always been… different, but in the sense that it’s the same as many other Saturdays, and here’s what I mean by that. On a very superficial level its not a public holiday like Friday or Sunday, the shops are open again, people do their weekend chores, it’s business as usual, even for many Christians. We talk so much on Friday and Sunday about Jesus’ work on the cross and his ultimate resurrection, (the thing on which our faith rests) yet on Saturday we can quickly snap out of contemplating this fact. Unfortunately the Saturday of the Easter weekend can easily become a regular day stuck between two of the most important for the Christian faith, but should we really let it be just another day and how should we spend it? What’s more, do we sometimes let Saturday become more of a theme, that can creep up on us at other times of the year?
I have often wondered what the disciples would have felt after the crucifixion, how did they spend their Saturday? The gospel accounts don’t really tells us much about what happened once Jesus was buried on good Friday, other than that the following day was the sabbath and that they hid themselves in Jerusalem in fear. (John 20:19) Therefore it’s somewhat safe to assume that the disciples weren’t having the best of times. So, what we can definitely say is that whilst they weren’t out shopping or going about their business, they were probably in mourning and feeling very down trodden. If you really think about it can you blame them? The man whom they followed and loved, who performed many miracles, who just a few days prior had entered triumphantly into Jerusalem to cheering crowds on the back of a colt, the promised messiah here to set the people of Israel free, had just been hanging on a cross, the cruelest torture device of their Roman oppressors. Let them mourn, their teacher and messiah has just died, they didn’t know Jesus was gonna be raised from the dead right? Well actually… they kind of did.
Although it was prophesied in the old testament scriptures (Isaiah 53, Psalm 16, Psalm 22) and even confirmed by Jesus’ own words that he would have to suffer, die, but then rise again (Mark 8:31, Matthew 16:21, Luke 18:31-33) the disciples following the crucifixion somehow seemed to have forgotten all of this. In their grief and disappointment they failed to remember what God, through both Christ and the prophets said he was going to do. As Bryce touched on in his article last Sunday we can sometimes let our expectations of what we think God should be doing cloud our eyes to see what God is actually doing. While the disciples sat in mourning, heaven was preparing a celebration, while they were resting during the sabbath, God was working to achieve something that had eternal significance. Even the enemy himself was rejoicing in victory, not even he knew what God was doing.
Today we live completely after the fact, we know the joy that came to the disciples once they saw the risen Christ, and the joy that has come to the world with the victory of his resurrection. It’s a joy we can share. While, as the modern church, we are blessed with the knowledge and revelation of what happened on all three days, we aren’t exempt from forgetting to connect Friday to Sunday and in the process letting ‘Saturday’ get in the way. Sometimes something will happen to us that seems like a mystery, seems like a complete tragedy even, yet while we can’t see it God may be working to bring about something amazing. Let’s not let the theme of ‘Saturday’ pop up in other areas of our faith. In those times let’s remember to trust what God has said, and forget what we think he should do, or how he should do it.
What about today, and what about the important work God achieved this weekend 2000 years ago? While it can be easy to remember the sacrifice Christ made on the cross, on Good Friday and the Resurrection on Sunday, do we give it just as much emphasis on the Saturday? And if we don’t, how much easier is it to forget every other day of the year? So today, let’s be sure to remember the significance of the cross and resurrection just as much as we did yesterday and will tomorrow. Let’s celebrate and thank God today, just as much as yesterday and tomorrow, for the sacrifice of his Son. Let’s let this whole weekend, all three days, be a time of reflection and celebration that stands out amongst the whole year. Then when Monday comes let’s continue to celebrate and be thankful to God, lets let the significance of this whole weekend resonate throughout the rest of the year, because Salvation and Jesus aren’t like the sequel to our favourite film that’s coming soon, they’re already here.