I have been in ministry for over 25 years. So, Easter weekend is generally pretty busy for us. We, like many, spend it occupied with the passion and resurrection of Christ. We just want to experience it and share that experience with others. But, I must confess that there is an awkward part to the whole Easter journey…
Holy Week is wonderful and heartbreaking.
Hebrews 12:2-3 (NLT) We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
Take a moment to reflect upon the many wonderful and powerful events of Jesus’ last week. We begin with Palm Sunday. On Sunday, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem riding a simple donkey to the roars of an exuberant crowd. Monday, we find Him weeping over Jerusalem. He then marches into the temple and wrecks the courtyard. Tuesday was a withering sermon and Judas makes a deal with the Sanhedrin. His Wednesday was a bit of a calm before the storm.
The Timeline accelerates on Maundy Thursday. He washed the disciple’s feet and reinstituted the Passover as the Lord’s Supper. (“Maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus’ words “I give you a new commandment.” Link) And of course, the culmination of all these events comes on Good Friday. He is tried, condemned, beaten, humiliated, and crucified. At the end of the day, the hope of the world, Emmanuel, is dead.
Saturday is The “In-between” Day.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
Saturday is a deep breath in-between the “It is finished” and the “Peace be with you”. It is an exhale of the held breath from Friday that marks the end of something old. It is an inhale in anticipation of the birth of something new.
This day between the worst and best days of all was a day of vigil. Consider it a day of wakefulness. Our chance to awaken to the cost of yesterday is in this in-between. Despair and Hope claim this most unsettling of days.
Saturday was a day for those who ran to stop running. For those who hid, it was a day to step into the light. It was a day for deniers to reflect upon their painful actions. And, also a day to try and remember Jesus’ words.
This is a very important day. Here rests all the weight of what has been. The Hope for all that could be finds its footing at this moment. During the in-between, hope is born.
Saturday Is The Day To Grieve.
Matthew 5:4 (ESV) “Blessed are those who mourn…
Saturday was a very important Sabbath day. It marked the Passover. This tradition was instituted in Egypt. It marked the day that God freed his “son” Israel from bondage and oppression. It was a day for all of Israel to remember that they were free.
Saturday reminds us that we are also free. Our bondage to sin and the chains to our past have been broken.
But, The cost was far greater than we realized.
It cost us our Messiah.
Our Savior WAS the price for all the broken things.
So, yes, today is the day to grieve. It is our vigil, our wakefulness, to the severity of our pain. This awareness, though painful, prepares the soil of our thinking for a new seed.
Embrace it. Feel it. Own it.
Healing begins after a thorough cleansing of the wound. So let the sadness do its work. Grief is about letting go. Letting go empowers us to embrace something new.
Saturday Is The Day to Hope.
Matthew 5:4 (ESV) …for they shall be comforted.
John 16:20,22 (NLT) You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
Sunday is coming.
The graveyard is dark. The tomb is sealed. Grumbling guards mill about complaining of the ridiculous duty they have been assigned. If this were any other grave, it would be the end of the story. No other tomb was as dangerous as this one. And although a few suspected, no one knew what was about to happen. Power was about to be released from that silent tomb. The world would never be the same. No one could have possibly imagined what would come next.
Your wildest hopes are about to be exceeded. Possibilities you could not have imagined are soon to appear. Get ready for your miracle. Jesus promised to accomplish the impossible on the third day. In doing so, He sets the new status quo for the Kingdom. The new normal of no impossibilities is about to walk out of a grave.
See you Sunday,