Have you ever heard of Holy Saturday? To be honest, I hadn’t. Southern Baptists tend to stick to Good Friday and Palm Sunday, with the occasional Maundy Thursday. I’ve been thinking about this Saturday recently, so I googled it. Just like my other original ideas, I found out it wasn’t as original as I thought. I’m not minimizing the importance of these three familiar days on the Holy Week calendar. We observe the Last Supper. We remember the cross. We celebrate the empty tomb. Saturday really isn’t on the radar.
If your church has an Easter Vigil, technically that’s not about Saturday. Although the calendar on your refrigerator or your smart phone show a Saturday, the liturgical calendar says it’s Sunday. The service marks the end of Saturday. Saturday isn’t marked by anything. It’s the end. No mass. No Eucharist. No remembrances scheduled. Nothing.
I was thinking about the Saturday after Good Friday and before Easter. I was thinking about the lives of Jesus’ followers, friends, and family. They were adjusting to their “new normal.” They were grieving. They were experiencing a day that was life altering for all the wrong reasons. They had lost a friend, a teacher, a healer, and the One they believed to be Messiah. On top of all that, it was the Sabbath. I’m pretty sure no one headed over to the synagogue. They would be at home. Nothing to do but think.
Some would feel guilt. Saturday was a day their thoughts would have been focused on Friday. What could they could have done to save Jesus? How could they go back in time to make Friday go away?
“I should have tried to talk Him out of going to Jerusalem.”
“I should have kept fighting in the garden.”
“I should have screamed the name Barabbas louder.”
“I should have testified at the trial.”
Some would be in the depths of sorrow. Mary lost a son. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lost a friend who wept with them. Mary Magdalene lost the One who saw her with eyes filled with love, not lust or contempt. They’re remembering Jesus, and they’re broken by His absence.
“Why hate the One who loved so many?”
“Why lecture the One who taught so well?”
“Why scourge the One who healed?”
“Why accuse the One who did no wrong?”
“Why kill the One who raised the dead?”
Some would be angry. There would be no shortage of candidates for the most hated person in Jerusalem on Saturday. People would want to place the blame on someone. Anger traces everything back to perpetrators, so these folks need to be witnesses for the prosecution.
“I always knew Judas was a traitor!”
“Where did all those palm branch waving people go when we needed their voices? I guess they were just on the bandwagon!”
“Those self-righteous Pharisees are just hungry for power! They will do anything to get their way!”
“The Romans are always out for blood! They’re not human beings! They’re monsters!”
“Where did those disciples go? They talked about how they would die for Jesus! I guess that was all just talk!”
Some would feel shame. It’s not about what they could have done. It’s what they did. Their own thoughts accuse them. They make themselves sick.
“I betrayed Him.”
“I denied Him.”
“I abandoned Him.”
“I killed Him.”
On Friday, Jesus was accused, beaten, crucified, and buried. He felt forsaken. The world mocked Him. They even misquoted Him. People felt the earthquakes, saw the sky grow dark, and heard the rocks split. Darkness was tangible on Friday.
Our Saturdays can feel like that Friday. We forget about Sunday’s promise and get stuck in our own Saturday, reliving our pain, our guilt, our anger, and our shame. We’re rocked by earthquakes that destroy our life as we know it. We’re broken by the attacks of the enemy. We’re forsaken by those we trusted. We stand accused by those who want to put us in our place. We feel the darkness engulfing us. We want to crawl into our own tombs and check out of a life we never wanted. Forgiveness, hope, and healing are not on our Saturday schedule. Saturday can feel like Friday all over again. It’s a Saturday that never seems to end.
Friday was the day the weight of our sin was placed on Jesus. Saturday was the day the adversary fought his hardest to destroy those who would be used to spread the gospel. The thoughts and memories of those close to Jesus were the weapons Satan used to torment them. The devil attacked them so violently that they couldn’t remember what Jesus had been telling them before He was crucified.
“I must lay down my life for you.”
“The enemy will attack you.”
“The world will accuse you.”
“You will feel alone.”
“You can’t go where I’m going.”
“You will feel guilt and shame.”
“Following Me will be difficult.”
Maybe those quotes came to mind on that Saturday. Jesus wanted them to remember that Saturday isn’t permanent. Saturday is where the old life comes to die. Saturday brings Jesus’ words to life that He meant believers to remember in the midst of a Saturday like that day.
“I am the Way.”
“I am the Truth.”
“I am the Life.”
“Believe in Me, and you’ll have forgiveness.”
“Believe in Me, and you’ll have hope.”
“Believe in Me, and you’ll have eternity with Me.”
“I’ve overcome the world.”
“I’ve defeated the enemy.”
“I’m coming back for you.”
Sunday crushes Saturday like rock crushes scissors.
In the middle of your Saturday, have you ever forgotten about Sunday? Not on your calendar, but in your heart. I’ve been there. It’s a dark place to be. The enemy’s scissors bring all the pain that brings us to our Saturday. Whether your injuries are paper cuts or stab wounds, the pain is real, the hurt is deep, and the darkness is overwhelming.
I googled Holy Saturday, and discovered another fact: Easter is not part of Holy Week. Lent and Holy Week point to Easter. People can observe Lent. People can observe Holy Week. It’s a solemn time of remembrance, so Easter really doesn’t belong there. We celebrate Easter. Hopelessness, guilt, shame, bitterness, and anything else left over from Saturday is old news. The good news has come. The stone is rolled away. Let the Rock roll that stone right over those scissors.
Leave your Saturday. Step into His Sunday.