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April 7, 2012

Saturday! All four gospels tell of the events of Holy Thursday and Jesus’ last meal with His disciples. They all speak of the horrific events of Good Friday and the crucifixion. And all four gospels tell us of the glorious Sunday morning and the empty tomb. Yet, they are all conspicuously silent regarding the events of Saturday.  As I am sitting here, in the wee hours of Saturday morning Easter weekend, I am contemplating what may have taken place all those years ago in Jerusalem.

I can almost see the disciples, huddled together in a locked room. Hiding for fear that they would be the next ones to be arrested and murdered. I am sure they were filled with sadness, fear, anger, and hundreds of other emotions.

I can almost see Peter, head in his hands, grieving for the loss of his beloved friend, but even more so for his own betrayal of that friend. Peter was with Jesus for three years. He remembers the teachings, the healings and deliverance; he remembers Jesus’ smile and sense of humor, but most of all Peter remembers Jesus’ prediction that he would betray Him. That moment, from days before, is ever present in Peter’s mind. Peter repeatedly asks himself, how could Jesus have known? How could He have known what was going to take place? Even more tragic, the moment that  pierces his very soul, is the moment that Jesus looked at him just after the third denial. That look is seared upon his memory; he will never be able to forget it.

I can see John, staring off into the distance. He cannot believe what has just happened. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is sitting next to him crying. John promised Jesus as he hung on the cross, he would care for her. He cannot believe Jesus is gone. He remembers the displays of power, the clear signs that God was with Jesus. He remembers times around the campfire, eating fish, and Jesus telling them how to do the will of God. He was sure they would rule as kings one day. Now it is all lost. How could this have happened?

Mary, Jesus’ mother, cannot stop crying. It was her baby boy they had cruelly beaten and murdered. Why did he have to suffer so much? Why did this have to happen? Mary remembered the promises brought to her by angels and prophets, but they seemed like cruel jokes now. She remembered the words of Simeon, surely an actual sword piercing her heart could not hurt this much.

I imagine none of the disciples can think straight. Their world had crashed down around them. Was it only a week ago, they had been ushered into the city with Jesus as conquering heroes. They were sure all the promises for Israel were about to be fulfilled. Now, not only were those dreams crushed, but, their very lives were in danger. More importantly, their best friend Jesus was dead. I’m sure they spent time trying to comfort one another. Each sharing a witnessed miracle, a memorable healing, a few words of encouragement, a smile or a hug that Jesus had given. None of these good memories could erase the image of Jesus’ beaten and bloody body shamefully hanging on a cross.

Can you picture the disciples? Can you imagine what they were thinking and feeling?

Saturday is a day that is never mentioned in the Bile, but it is key to us today. The disciples were confused and disillusioned. Things did not happen the way they thought they would, or should. They were sure Jesus would overthrow the Romans and set up God’s physical kingdom here on earth. Instead, He was killed by the Romans in the most brutal form of execution ever devised. The disciples were scared. Instead of being important officials in God’s kingdom, they were now wanted men. The disciples were apathetic. What’s the point now that Jesus is gone? It’s a waste of time. The disciples were sad. They thought that Jesus was dead for good. They did not understand that Jesus was coming back. The disciples, didn’t really know Jesus. They had hung out with Him for three years, but didn’t understand He was about to conquer death. They knew His teachings, knew His miracles, and knew His caring. However, after He died, all of those things were nothing more than empty memories.

We remember His death on Friday and we celebrate His resurrection on Sunday. Let’s also remember the pain and confusion of the disciples on Saturday. This pain and confusion is part of the reason Sunday is, and was, so glorious!

Filed under: Salvation, Faith


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