It was Saturday. The Jewish Sabbath. The followers of Jesus were hunkered down in private quarters in Jerusalem. They were a sad group. Devastated, in fact. Their Master, their Leader, their Rabbi was gone. How could it have happened? And happened so quickly? Just a few days ago the excitement was high as throngs of people joined Him on His magnificent entry into the city.
Now the Light was snuffed out. The life-giving Water had evaporated. Their Vine had shriveled. Their King had vanished. The Truth was in question. The Way had taken a disastrous turn. Their Servant/Friend lay in a tomb. They were fearful that they would end up in one too.
It was the day to go to the temple. But not today. Maybe not ever again. The leaders there had arranged the crucifixion. Their religion was false and cruel and unjust. Oh, a couple of them had been kind. They had gone against the majority and carefully buried the broken body of the Lord. But most of the priests were not to be trusted.
Jesus had clearly told them that He would have to die. But now? In such a cruel way? Had they not heard Him? Was there no hope left? Why had the Father let His Son be treated so horribly? The disciples were full of doubt and despair. All they had were questions and pain. So they huddled together and awaited the passing of the Sabbath. Tomorrow they would go check on the body and the women would anoint Him properly.
Have you ever been that destitute? I have experienced great loss, but have never been without hope. I am writing this on the day before Easter, so I’m trying to put myself in the scenario and imagine what Jesus’s friends experienced. In retrospect, I know that He will come to life on Sunday and change their lives forever. But in this dark moment they were desperate for a shred of hope.
Have you ever been there? Are you there now? Let’s look at some of the promises that can bring us out of such hopelessness. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25, ESV). So what is there to be afraid of? Paul followed up on that with these words: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11, ESV).
We don’t have to live as though it were Saturday. Jesus is alive! Is it Sunday for you?