Easter week has completely caught me by surprise this year. My
excuses reasons: (1) We are on Round Two of strep throat in the last month. That would be six cases of strep in the last four weeks. That’s 120 doses of antibiotics. (2) We are on Jake’s eleventy billionth shift in a row. (3) Each kid has had a different school project. (4) Full moon. (5) No sleep. (6) First Easter away from family and our regular traditions. (7) General loss of mind.
So in a last ditch effort to reclaim some of the holiness of Holy Week, I spent some time talking with the kids about the days ahead.
We covered it all. Maundy Thursday, when Jesus and his disciples shared the Last Supper and Jesus was arrested. Good Friday and all of the events of that sad day when Jesus died on the cross. Then Resurrection Sunday when Jesus conquered death and rose from the grave.
“But, Mom? What about Saturday? What happened that day?”
My daughter’s question took me by surprise. I guess I had never really thought much about Saturday. We tend to skip over Saturday. “Jesus died on the cross and on the third day was raised from the dead.” Growing up in Sunday School and Bible School and Youth Group, it became rote. Just as 1+1=2, it was too often more like “Jesusdiedonthecrossandonthethirddaywasraisedfromthedead. Time for pizza!”
But Grace’s question got me thinking about what the followers of Jesus must have been feeling on that Saturday.
They had sold out completely for Jesus. He was Messiah. This was the real deal. Jesus was The One sent to save the Jews in what they most likely anticipated to be a dramatic and triumphant fashion.
They had literally up and walked away from their lives as they knew it to live on the fringes of polite society. But it was worth it because everything was on track for them to have a front row seat to history. And as they came into Jerusalem, they must have been riding high as the people celebrated Jesus. I can only imagine the adrenaline and jubilation.
How quickly it all changed.
In a matter of days, their hero who was here to deliver Israel, the one who held all their hopes, was arrested, mocked, tortured, and killed.
And on that Friday, the sun set on all of their expectations.
On Saturday, the sun rose. Life went on even though the story they thought God was writing was dead.
Can you imagine how long Saturday felt?
They had watched hope die on a cross. Their faith, so strong just days before, now broken and bloodied and lying lifeless in a borrowed tomb.
I take Saturday for granted. I say it all in one breath, “Jesus died and rose on the third day.” As if it were just the blink of an eye.
But even in the most important work in the history of ever, there is waiting.
There’s a day in between. A long, dark Saturday when all seems lost. When it feels like we’re completely on our own. When it all seems to be unravelling. When all we can do is look around a world of confused faces and wonder, “What now?”
Thank God he doesn’t leave us there in that place of loss and confusion. When we’re floundering somewhere in the middle pages of our story, he is not surprised at the twists and turns in our lives. He knows every page.
In the craziness of this world today, it often feels like we’re living in the tension of a lifetime of perpetual Saturdays. When our expectations of how our story is supposed to go have been shattered, we’re looking around a room and wondering, “What now?” We’re feeling abandoned.
Oh, friends. Hold on.
It is a cold and dark Saturday right now. But Sunday is coming!