Silent Saturday - Easter 2014
The journey to the cross was complete.
All four of the Gospel Writers talk bout the death & burial of Jesus.
Sundown on Friday was the beginning of the Sabbath. Neither handling a dead body nor the work of preparing one for a burial was acceptable. So a man named Joseph from Arimathea, offered a tomb and linen for Jesus’ body. He was laid in the tomb and a large stone was rolled over the entrance and guards were placed to prevent anyone from coming in and stealing the body (Matthew 27:62-66).
What happened between the closing of the tomb and early Sunday morning when Mary came to help prepare Jesus’ body with spices and oils for a proper burial and found the tomb empty?
Saturday is silent for the Gospel writers.
We don’t want to take too much from the white-space between the words of the Scriptures, however, it does make one pause and think, “What was going on in the minds and hearts of those closest to Jesus?”
Mary - Who Jesus had freed from seven demons and walked closely with Jesus and the disciples… (Luke 8:2)
Lazarus - Who had died himself and was raised to life by the word of Jesus Christ… (John 11:1-44)
Peter - Who denied Jesus before men, and even a young girl, and now was left in his shame… (Mark 14:66-72)
Mary (Jesus' mother) - Who endured sideways glances for bearing in her own womb Jesus, the promised Messiah… (Luke 1:46-56)
John - Who was closest to Jesus and whom Jesus charged to look after his mother as he hung on the cross… (John 19:26-27)
The other disciples - Who had likely heard by now that Judas had hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-10) were scattered and scared.
To be honest, we don’t know. But they had seen him do wondrous things. He displayed his power over the wind and the sea. He multiplied bread and fish to feed thousands. He healed the sick and raised the dead back to life. Now Jesus was dead. It isn’t hard to imagine their internal cycle of fear, confusion, and doubt.
Jesus talked about his death but this was still unexpected. There were promises about the Messiah to be believed, and yet the weight of the circumstances was crowding out all hope in those promises.
For us, the glory of the empty tomb comes after the agony of the cross.
However, many times the promises of God for us in Christ are hard to see as we labor, often in the darkness of night, stumbling around, groaning as we wait for even a sliver of light to come in the morning.
Are we able to see the faithfulness of the promises of God through the lens of resurrection Sunday?
We too have dark Saturdays when hope seems distant… but we need not remain in the cycle of fear, confusion, and doubt.
May we be Spirit-enabled to believe that all that Christ promised is true.
That He [the Risen Christ] is with us always, “to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39 ESV)