Yesterday was Good Friday – the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. It’s the day that the Son of God himself was executed. His enemies were victorious. His followers were in disarray. It’s the day that is remembered throughout the world because without Good Friday, we couldn’t have Easter. Without the death of Jesus on the cross, we wouldn’t be celebrating his resurrection three days later.
And that’s what we like to do in churches. We recognize and even celebrate Good Friday, but then we skip ahead to the celebration on Sunday, reminding everyone that it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming. Somehow during this remembering and celebration we minimize the fact that there is a Saturday in this story. And it feels pretty bleak.
Imagine with me for a moment that you’ve been following this man throughout the countryside. He’s proclaimed Truth. He’s healed many. Throngs of people greeted him. He had performed countless miracles. People’s lives were changed. Your life was changed.
You were there when he entered Jerusalem and was greeted with crowds of people shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” And you watched them make a path out of palm leaves as you followed him through the city.
Then the bottom fell out.
Within a matter of hours, your leader was betrayed, condemned by the authorities, and publicly executed by the State. Everything you thought you knew was proven wrong. The hours following Good Friday were a frightening, lonely, and hopeless time. They had no idea that their world was about to be changed and everything Jesus had promised was about to come true. They were surrounded by darkness, questioning everything they believed.
And the demons celebrated. All signs had pointed to hell’s victory. Evil had triumphed over good. Everything was spiraling out of control.
I’ve been there.
You’ve probably been there, too. If you haven’t been there yet, you will be someday. It’s part of the human experience. You could suddenly lose your job and find yourself wondering what on earth you’re going to do next when the bills are piling up. I remember waking up the day after my father in law died, hoping against hope that everything had been just a dream. I had a similar hope when my nephew died. Life is full of our own personal Holy Saturday moments.
Some people never leave their dark Saturdays. It’s like they’re stuck. They’re stuck on Saturday. And it’s because so many people are stuck on Saturday that we cannot rush through Saturday to get to Easter Sunday.
If you’re feeling isolated, abandoned, or alone, this day’s a great reminder for you. Maybe you are heartbroken, betrayed, or feeling completely helpless and hopeless. This day’s a great reminder for you.
If you feel like nobody is listening to you, this day’s a great reminder for you. And if it feels like your prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling and God doesn’t really care, this day’s a great reminder for you.
If the reality of death is looming over you, this day’s a great reminder for you.
If you’re surrounded by darkness and despair, this day is a great reminder for you. Light and life are about to burst forth out of the tomb. The world is about to be turned upside down.
But Sunday morning is coming.
Do you see it? The light is peeking around the corner. The darkness will not last forever. Let me say this again: the darkness will not last forever. It’s Saturday. But Sunday morning is just beyond the horizon. It is about to pierce through the darkness. Do you see it?