The most significant day of Easter weekend is not Friday or Sunday – its Saturday.
Easter Sunday morning, millions of believers will attend an outdoor sunrise service and eat paschal bread. Good Friday, many spend some portion of the day attending services to remember the suffering of Jesus and eat hot cross buns.
What do believers do on Easter Saturday?
On Saturday morning after Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples wake after not having slept for two days. The city that was screaming for blood the day before is quiet. Crowds have disbanded. Jesus is dead.
Those who believe in Jesus, gather. They remember. Things He said. What He taught. Things He did. People He touched or healed. They remember what it felt like when this Jesus wanted them. They remember their hopes and dreams. They were going to change the world.
John Ortberg reminds us of these things and more in Who Is This Man.
Maybe they talk about what went wrong. What happened? None of them wants to say this, but in their hearts, they’re trying to come to grips with this unfathomable thought: Jesus failed. Jesus ended up a failure. Noble attempt, but He couldn’t get enough followers.
He couldn’t convince the chief priests. He couldn’t win over Rome to make peace. He couldn’t get enough ordinary people to understand His message. He couldn’t even train His disciples to be courageous at the moment of great crisis.
Why is there a Saturday in the Easter story?
You might expect that if Jesus were to be crucified then resurrected, God would just get on with it. There are no Bible verses for Saturday.
The two days on either side of Easter Saturday are heavily discussed. Some of the brightest minds in the world have devoted themselves primarily to those two days – maybe the two most studied days in history.
In its own way, Saturday should mark Easter as much as Friday and Sunday because everybody knows Saturday. It’s where we exist.
Saturday is the day you hear your doctor’s prognosis. You wouldn’t wish these feelings on your worst enemy. You fear that all your tomorrows will feel as dark as today.
Saturday is the day your dream died. You wake up and you’re still alive. You have to go on, but you don’t know how. Worse, you don’t know why.
Saturday is the day when you think that your circumstances are as good as they are going to get. Prayers unanswered. Silence. Brass heavens.
What if the miracle of Easter is not Sunday? What it its Saturday?
Saturday is the day the tomb is NOT empty. Heaven witnessed Jesus conceived in Mary. Born at Bethlehem. Loving Samaritans. Crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem. Lying in a tomb. Disciples defeated.
The miracle of Saturday is the Son of God lies dead.
He who knew no sin became like me. And you. He died in our place.
Jesus showed his invincibility not by avoiding death, but by suffering death.
Saturday is the day when faith matters most. It’s the evidence of things unseen. Hold on. Reach up. Trust.
If you can find God in a tomb, you will find Him in any circumstance you are facing.
Thank God for Saturday.
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He has served as a pastor for 36 years and has enjoyed the past 26 years in leadership at North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta.
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