Saturday, April 19, 2014


It's Saturday.
It's the day the world stood still, the day the disciples hid somewhere in Jerusalem because they believed knew their hopes and dreams had died on the cross.
They'd left their nets, their tables of taxes, whatever other livelihoods they had to follow this man.
They'd believed him when he told them they'd become fishers of men.
They'd watched him heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, feed thousands, calm storms, walk on water. They'd listened to his words and believed them, even as inscrutable as they sometimes seemed.
Their feet had grown callouses from the hundreds of miles they'd walked with him.
They'd slept in a hundred different places, some just dirt and rocks along the road.
They'd eaten at tables with rich and poor, with the kind of folks they'd never have dreamed.

They loved him. That's why they'd done it all. They loved him and they believed him when he called them to come. They trusted him with their lives.

But this day is Saturday. This day, they were spent. This day they were bewildered and hurt and grieved as no one had ever grieved before. One would have to have left everything to fully understand exactly they felt. Their families might have despised them, turned their backs on them, wondered at their sanity. They certainly lost their income. Have you ever thought of that? How did Peter care for his wife, his mother-in-law while he traveled around with Jesus for those three years after leaving his nets?
And all for what?

That's what must have been going through their minds that Saturday--that Sabbath. It was the Sabbath, of course. They couldn't even do anything. They were governed by the laws that said they had to be still and quiet and not even lift a hand to pound it in the frustrated, even-angry grief they must have felt.

I always imagine them having retreated back to the room (somewhere upstairs in a house) where they'd last shared a meal with him. And I imagine these sorts of questions murmured with long silences between.

What had happened? How could it have happened?
How could he have done that to us?
He didn't speak a word in his own defense.
Did you hear that he said, "My god, my god, why did you forsaken me?"
He must not have been...
No, don't say it. Don't think it.

But they did think it.
Of course they did. Despite what he'd told them, on this day, to those men (and women!!!) in the upper room of a house somewhere in Jerusalem, Jesus was only a man. And he had been killed. With his death, all their hopes and dreams of him being the Messiah ended. He breathed his last, and it was over.

Make no mistake, that's what Saturday is about.
If the story ended on Saturday (indeed, if it ended Friday morning), there would be no capitalizing of the h in him, because he was only a man, a man whose life was as easy to snuff out as anyone else's.

It's Saturday.
I always take this day and live with this painful knowledge. We go about our Saturday-before-Easter in preparation for the most glorious of days, but in reality, it's a very hard day, because while the followers of Jesus were being kept in the dark, Jesus Himself (with a capital H) was in the dark, battering the gates of hell. This is the other part of Saturday that I can't fathom. I picture Him overturning the tables at the temple, His anger then, and I wonder if it's a picture of how He would swell to fight the enemy on his own turf. We think He unleashed his righteous anger at people, just imagine Him letting loose against satan! I don't know for sure, but I wonder.

Yes, it's Saturday.
It's right that we think about these hard, dark things for this day.
We have no fear, though, for we know what's coming tomorrow.

1 comment:

Pamela M. Steiner said...

And praise God, Easter morning did come...and that changed everything...for the disciples, for you and me and for all who come after us! Hallelujah! "Death could not keep its prey....He tore the bars away! Jesus my Lord...up from the grave He arose!!!!"