Isn’t it interesting that the Bible says virtually nothing about Saturday between Jesus’ crucifixion on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday?
The Sunday before is called “Palm Sunday,” Thursday that week is known as “Maundy Thursday,” the day on which Jesus was crucified is designated “Good Friday,” and the day of his resurrection is celebrated as “Easter Sunday.” But what about that Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?
In all my years of going to church, leading Holy Week services, teaching about the events, and rejoicing on Easter Sunday I have never thought much about the Saturday between Jesus’ Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection. That is, until last night.
This week I have been reading a devotional guide published by Christianity Today entitled “Journey to the Cross.” Last night I couldn’t go to sleep so I moved ahead in my reading to the devotional for Saturday. Written by A.J. Swoboda, its heading is “Waiting at the Tomb.”
Swoboda’s opening sentence grabbed my attention and held my interest through the three pages. He begins the short devotional with the acknowledgment: “I call it awkward Saturday.” I don’t think that description will become as well-known as the others, but I like it.
What were Jesus’ mother, disciples, and friends thinking and doing on that Saturday? Swoboda points out that we “look at Saturday through the lens of Sunday” (the resurrection), but they couldn’t.
Jesus, of course, had told his disciples more than once he would be killed but would rise again. You may want to take a few minutes and read Matthew 16:21, 17:22 and 23, and 20:17-19. In Luke’s report of Jesus’ third time telling them this he adds, “The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about” (Luke 18:31-34). Luke’s words are confirmed by the response of the disciples to the first reports that Jesus had been raised (Luke 24:11).
But what about Saturday? It is somewhat awkward, isn’t it? We can try, but we can’t really experience and feel what Jesus’ followers did on that Saturday. We know what was coming on Sunday, they didn’t. Swoboda suggests it was a day of waiting and ambiguity for them.
We can’t experience and feel what Jesus’ followers did on that Saturday, but we do know something about ambiguity and waiting in our lives. And that waiting and ambiguity tests our faith. During those times of Saturday disappointment, uncertainty, and holding on, don’t forget that after Saturday comes Sunday.
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