We should celebrate Christ’s coming to earth, becoming flesh and identifying with mankind every day of the year. Not just Christmas! We should celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead every day of our lives.
Except for Orthodox churches, and even then never to the degree other holy days are celebrated, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday receives very little attention. “Holy Saturday” is the only name it has, and some ancient rites used to hold services in very stark settings and fast on that day.
However, I believe it deserves more of our attention.
Many theologians divide history in half: all of Creation and mankind before Jesus, (BC); then the Incarnation and redemption of the world after the Resurrection, (AD).
However, there was one day in history when humanity must have felt very alone. The multitudes had heard Jesus’ teachings. Many did not understand. Some did. But everyone in Jerusalem — haters and scholars, followers and family — all knew one thing that Saturday.
Jesus was gone. He was dead. There were witnesses. It was official. He was wrapped and buried. The Earth was dark. Jerusalem was silent. Those who followed his ministry faced the fact he was no longer with them. Those who knew him best, even his mother, confronted the void. The Bible tells us that nobody remembered, or believed, the scripture’s prophecies or his promises.
We know what happened the next day. But we would not have known on that Saturday. No one did.
Was that Saturday the most awful day in his followers’ hearts, and in mankind’s history? Literally and figuratively, Jesus was removed from our midst on that day. People’s faith was shaken. People who had witnessed miracles, who had experienced miracles prayed for another miracle. Jesus had comforted the little children, the widows, the orphans, the sick, the needy, the outcasts and the sinners. Would they be comforted no more?
“I have come that you might have life.” Was his life over? “I will be with you always,” was a message of his entire ministry. Was it a lie?
The nearest I can imagine what the feelings in people’s hearts were that Saturday is what I have read about feelings of being alone, really alone. Sometimes people are not aware of God’s presence; they call out but cannot hear an answer in their distress. They feel “alone.” Surely this feeling is the most awful emotion anyone can feel. Disappointment, failure, defeat and betrayal cannot even come close.
And this is the feeling that Jesus’ family and followers must have felt that Saturday before he revealed himself and the truth became known to them on Sunday. All of creation had to have felt that feeling on that Saturday. Thank God that we have never had another day like that.
Is there a benefit in contemplating this? It was all in God’s plan. How much greater does the glory of Easter seem when we think about the day before? How much more can we appreciate the presence of a living savior in our lives? How much sweeter is our Christian walk if we remind ourselves of the horror of being alone? We have a friend who not only overcame death, but takes our hand to lead us to places where we will never be alone.