This was something I wrote 3 years ago on an old blog. It still resonates in my heart.
As I sit here at the end of a great Easter weekend I can’t help but think about Saturday.
We have Good Friday.
We have Easter Sunday.
And then there is the in between.
For those that knew and loved the human Jesus…. for those that were his friends….his parents…his disciples…Saturday was real.
They hadn’t made it to Sunday yet.
For those people, Saturday was full of many things:
and the list goes on and on.
Those closest to Jesus had to be trying to piece together all of his words dealing with his end. It wasn’t spelled out so clearly for them. Jesus didn’t exactly say: “Ok, here is the plan. In a few days I am going to be arrested, beaten severely, executed, publicly mocked and scorned. You need to know that I’m going to be crucified and I am fine with that. It is all a part of the plan. Please don’t worry too much. You see, two days later on Sunday I’m going to do another miracle and God is going to allow me to come back to life. So don’t worry too much on Friday when I die. It is just what needs to go down so that I can finish what I started. Lets all meet in the parking lot of the new Publix on Sunday and I’ll give you a little advice on how to carry things on because I’m going to have to head back up to heaven after that.”
It didn’t go down like that.
They actually met at Winn-Dixie.
But seriously, this is the closest Jesus came to telling them straight forward what was going to happen:
17Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
Then the story changes subjects and they had to be thinking, “um….what was that?”
So Saturday arrives and they are sifting through their thoughts.
can’t believe he is dead.
They had been with this man, this deity, for quite a while. They had heard all of his stories and lessons and parables and answers. They had watched him do things that they had never seen anyone do. He had talked about living forever. In their minds they thought that the Messiah was going to help them overthrow the Roman government. He was their King.
More personally, he was their friend.
and he was dead.
They doubted him, because they were human and had just witnessed a tragedy. The bible only mentions 1 disciple at the death scene. Along with a few others, the one that they called “Savior” died nearly alone. Most of them had escaped probably with the fear that something similar would happen to them. We know that Simon Peter told people he didn’t know Jesus. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one.
They had memories of him. He had spoken things that they could never forget. Even if they recalled what he said about the Son of Man being crucified and raised the third day… the pain was overwhelming.
And so was the fear. Fear for themselves. Fear for their lives. Fear that they had just wasted their lives the last few years and severed relationships for this man. Fear that they had left their jobs to follow this person and become homeless for a while and now he was dead and they must have looked like fools…
Our lives as followers of Jesus take place entirely in this idea of Saturday.
We are confused. We are full of doubt. We wrestle with these things year in and year out until the day that we die. We know the stories of Jesus. He has said things that we cannot forget. We know that he talked about “preparing a place for us”. We know he said that he was coming back again at some point. But we are afraid at the same time. If this isn’t real we have been wasting a lot of our lives. We have seen traces of him. But we haven’t put our hands in his wounds.
We have been left by Jesus with hope. But there are certain points in our Saturday that are so real and so painful and so frustrating that it is hard to hold on to that hope. Life is so real. And we don’t know exactly how Sunday is going to play out. And on occasion we probably wonder if it will.
I think of Sunday and try to wonder what it was like when each close friend and family member of Jesus saw him alive. In an instant all of their fears were relieved. The hope was no longer hope. It was definite. And it was validated by the only one who can replace hope with a reality that is much better.
That Sunday must have been so wonderful. So beautiful. And just as real as Saturday was.
For us, Sunday is coming. Hope will be definite. Our entire lives will be validated and all of our fears will be relieved.
Saturday has worn us down so much.
But in an instant Sunday will make us forget about Saturday.