Robert Griffith | 30 March 2024
Robert Griffith
30 March 2024

 

Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday have been the three focus points of the Easter story for generations. But what about Saturday? We hear very little preached about Easter Saturday. I have always wondered what that day over 2,000 years ago was like, sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter. The Bible says remarkably little about it, but we at least know it was the Sabbath and the disciples were likely in hiding. I have so many questions about that day.

The day before, the sky had gone dark in the middle of the afternoon. The temple curtain tore in two. Some dead people came back to life and walked into Jerusalem. The earth shook. Rocks split in two. Were the people of Jerusalem scared by what it might mean?  Had they been able to sleep at all that night?

Can you imagine the atmosphere in the Jerusalem synagogue that Sabbath day? Were the people hoarse from shouting, “Crucify Him!”? Did they regret the day before? Jesus had healed their lepers and their invalids and their blind. He had fed their hungry, calmed their storms, and even raised Lazarus from the dead. Was it any wonder the earth shook when He died?

Did the people miss Him? Did it seem like it had all been a dream? What did they talk about over Sabbath lunch? Were they eager for life to return to normal, or did they miss the unpredictable way Jesus turned everything they had been taught on its head?

Imagine the religious leaders, drunk with delight over finally getting rid of the Jesus who had so challenged their status quo. Did they feel any guilt or remorse? How did they explain the early darkness or the torn curtain or the dead brought back to life? Did any of them now wonder if His claims were true?

The women who went to the tomb on Easter morning expected to find His body there. They probably talked about the events of the past few days. They sure didn’t expect what was coming. They had no idea that Jesus’ body would not be in that tomb and He would be alive forever. They didn’t know that the horrible events of Good Friday were in God’s plan all along. They didn’t know that it was all for their good – and ours.

Because of Easter, we know that even the very worst things that happen are part of God’s plan.

Because of Easter, we know that God loves us more than we could have ever hoped.

Because of Easter, we know that nothing can stop God. Nothing can keep Him from loving us. Nothing can catch Him by surprise.

Because of Easter, we have hope forever. No matter what we face in life, we know that Jesus will be with us and will carry us through it. He will never leave us.

But the people of Jerusalem didn’t know any of that … yet.

On the day before Easter, they knew only that He had been arrested without defending Himself. That He had been tortured without protest. That He had died willingly. They knew He had said He is God. They knew He had promised to care for their every need. And they knew His body lay in a tomb. How they must have felt the tension between trusting His promises and experiencing their very present reality.

Have you ever wondered about that Saturday so long ago? The day sandwiched between the day of death and the day of life? As long as we live in this world, we will be sandwiched between what God has promised for our future and what we are experiencing now. The tension of waiting is felt by all of us.

But we will never feel that tension quite like the people of Jerusalem did on that Saturday long ago. We will never again have to wonder: Was He – is He – really who He says He is?

That Saturday was a day of defeat, emptiness, anger, fear, regret and a deep, debilitating sense of hopelessness for those who had such high expectations of what God was about to do for His people! But we cannot look back on that Saturday and see it as a day of great expectation because after Saturday comes Sunday and on Sunday absolutely everything changed! On Sunday, Saturday and Friday all made sense. On Sunday everything God had ever said, done and promised now made sense!

So much of our broken lives are lived on that Saturday. We are surrounded by people without hope; people without a clear vision of a new day dawning; people who want to believe things can be better but they are still hurting from their ‘Friday’ experience and stuck in a permanent Saturday.

On this Easter Saturday, let us all be praying for those around us who really have no expectation of tomorrow. Let us reach out to them in love and give them a reason to hope for a new day.

That is the message of Easter Saturday. The new day is coming … just hang on and trust God!