Easter and The Silence of Saturday
For us moderns, the Saturday of Easter Weekend is filled with watching our favorite sporting event, sales at the mall, and time with family, . . . but not so for those first Christ Followers. They had left everything to follow Christ, and they had been with Him for the past three years. Now, as Christ’s Final Week unfolded before them, they would watch their world and their dreams unravel, . . . and they would be left alone with their doubts, disillusionment and the reality of a dead king.
Christ's Final Week
But how could this happen? On Sunday, the first day of Passover Week, things had started so gloriously. Jesus had been paraded through the streets of Jerusalem like a king. Thousands of people had packed the crowded streets and flooded the marketplace. Finally, things were looking up and the disciples were getting the attention and limelight they had longed for.
But on Monday things began to change again. Oh, the crowds were still large and Jesus was never more on with His teaching, but with His behavior of storming in and flinging tables and doves flying and people scampering and traders scattering, the mood would forever change. And Monday would become Tuesday.
Tuesday of Christ’s Final Week was a day of controversy and confrontation. Jesus’ authority will again be questioned. And at the end of the questioning, Jesus will give his last sermon to the Pharisees. Jesus’ last words to the Pharisees were not about love or compassion. It was about phony faith and hollow hearts. It was an in-your-face slam dunk against their legalistic leadership. Six times Jesus would call them hypocrites and five times He called them blind. From any PR perspective, Tuesday did not go well for Jesus and His Followers.
There are no events recorded for Wednesday in the Ancient Text.
On Thursday, Jesus and His Followers would experience together the Passover Supper. The Eleven would hear His final discourse to them, followed by the arrest in Gethsemane.
On Friday, Christ would endure beatings, a flogging, six unjust trials, an horrific crucifixion ending in His death and finally His burial.
Then, . . . the Silence of Saturday!
Sandwiched between the horror of crucifixion and the glory of resurrection, . . . between the sorrow of Friday and the celebration of Sunday is “the Silence of Saturday,” . . . a day when Scripture and even the Angels are silent, . . . a day for those first Christ Followers when they might have felt that even God was silent, either not concerned with their pain and struggles or unable to do anything about it.
It is Saturday, and those first Followers of Christ find themselves in the pseudo-safety of the Upper Room. As oil lamps throw flickering ghosts against the walls, the disciples are left alone with their own thoughts and doubts. As they reflect on all the activities of the week and of the past thirty-six hours, their minds drift back to the Passover meal they had shared with Jesus in the very room where they now hide. They knew the meaning of the roasted lamb, the unleavened bread, the cups of wine, the bitter herbs, and the salt water. But they could not have realized that the fulfillment of all their Passover symbols and traditions reclined in their midst.
They had seen Jesus take the Passover cup and give thanks. They had heard His words, ““I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, 'I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'”
But the disciples really had no idea what Jesus meant by “suffer.” He had tried to forewarn them, but there’s no place for a dead king in their visions of the kingdom. So they hear what they wanted to hear and discard what doesn’t fit.
So, there they are, . . . in the Silence of Saturday, . . . struggling in their own sea of doubt and disillusionment, . . . trying to make sense of any of it, . . . wondering why God seemed to sit on His hands and do nothing, . . . wondering what could be next.
This Saturday, may we linger for a while in the Silence of Saturday so that the magnitude of that empty tomb might impact us like never before, and the life-changing power of His Resurrection have free reign to do a mighty work in us.
And if you find yourself in a “Season of the Silence of Saturday,” take hope! It is good to linger, but we were not made to live there. God made a lot of noise on Friday. He would appear to be silent on Saturday. But God and His Angels will rock the house and conquer death itself on Sunday.
It is Saturday, . . . with its silence and all its struggles, . . . but Sunday’s coming, and the promise of Resurrection!
Good Friday is a day to remember Christ’s ascent up the Hill of Sacrifice. His ascent up that hill was the very purpose of His life. He had said so Himself. He had come, He said, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” And evidently, the climax of His service was His sacrifice. And it was not simply the end of His mortal life. It was much more the goal of His life. It was not the end of the story, but the theme of the story.