Saturday. The day after Good Friday. The day before Resurrection Sunday.
We don’t call it anything. Oh, traditionally it’s been called things like Great Sabbath, Holy Saturday, Black Saturday, Easter Eve. On this day, the Virgin Mary is referred to as Our Lady of Solitude, referring to her sadness and grief at the death of her son, Jesus.
But nothing is really said of this day in the Bible. All the gospels that tell the story of the crucifixion and the resurrection pretty much skip right from one to the other. There’s a whole bunch of hours in between. We do know that at some point, the high priests and Pharisees went before Pilate and requested that the tomb be sealed and/or guarded so that the disciples wouldn’t steal the body of Jesus and claim that he had risen from the dead. But other than that, not much.
But…what about the disciples? What about those who followed Jesus closely? What about those who heard him say, with their own ears, “Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed and then on the third day be raised up alive.” It goes on to say, “Peter took him in hand, protesting, ‘Impossible, Master! That can never be.'” (Matthew 16:21-22 MSG) Did they just not get it?
But they knew it was coming. I dare say they knew exactly why it was coming. But I’m sure on Friday, after witnessing the pain and agony of their leader, watching him gasp his last breath, watching him die, watching him be taken down off that hideous cross and buried in a borrowed tomb…they felt a bit confused.
And if they slept at all on Friday night, I’m sure they woke up wondering, “What the heck??”
We’ve all lost someone we love dearly. We’ve all buried someone we love. We’ve all faced that day after it’s all over. All the pleasantries. All the ceremony. All the crying. The next day we’re all like, “What the heck?” “Why?” “What do we do now?” “How can we go on without him/her?” “I wonder if I can get my old job back?”
That Saturday following Jesus’ death and burial was a dark day. For some reason, they forgot that Jesus said he’d rise again. That he would be alive again. In just three days. That was slipping their minds.
I’m sure they experienced a form of PTSD…walking around as if in a fog. Experiencing a myriad of emotions: disbelief, confusion, wondering, questioning, doubting, hoping, and more crying. Was there a place deep in their hearts that remembered what he said? Remembered that he mentioned rising to life again? I don’t know.
We all deal with these types of Saturdays. Where do I go from here? What’s going to happen? How do I continue on after this? Why isn’t the whole world stopping after this wonderful person has gone away? What now? I miss them so much!
But the next morning, oh glory!!! When the tomb was empty…when Jesus was not there…when suddenly the light started coming on in their hearts and minds…. and they remembered. They remembered. And all became clear! What a day!!!
Always remember that after every horrible trauma, after every dark, violent storm in our life, there comes a morning. The sun rises. The questions will be answered. The doubting will be reversed. The confusion will be cleared up. The disbelief will become belief. The crying will become rejoicing. The hoping will become fact! The mourning will become dancing.
We just have to be patient for Sunday to come. When the crucifixion turns into a resurrection.