Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy Saturday…the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday…what’s it all about, anyway? Do we 21st century Christians have any understanding of the       significance of this day in the tapestry of God’s epic story? The early church calendar named the day between Good Friday and Easter, Holy Saturday, but
before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, this Saturday was a Jewish Sabbath, just like every other Jewish Sabbath.

Jesus the Nazarene was laid in Nicodemus’ rock tomb just before a particular Sabbath began at sunset on a Friday. All of those who’d witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ were devastated, despondent, and desperately hopeless….the champion of their freedom had been brutally murdered, now what….? 

As faithful Jews, these men and women had to go forward with the Sabbath; the holiest day of the week had to be celebrated and the goodness of Jehovah declared to their children. How could they possibly celebrate God’s goodness in the midst of such disappointment? 

I pondered this question while preparing to celebrate the Resurrection on this Easter Sunday...it wasn't difficult to identify with the fears of those 1st century Christ followers. Then, all of a sudden the Lord brought something to my attention...Psalm 92..a Song for the Sabbath--the only psalm set apart for that weekly time of worship.  As Jesus of Nazareth lay wrapped in myrrh and aloe scented grave clothes, the sons and daughters of Abraham gave thanks to the LORD, and sang praises to the name of the Most High. As they sang together this sacred text they declared, “the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” WOW! what an example for their children...what faithful obedience to the precepts set out for them by Jehovah.

How different is our story...we didn't have to fearfully wait all through the Sabbath wondering what was coming next....we knew that today we'd celebrate a historical event...the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ! 

But what about all of those who don't know him as Savior-- who live in Holy Saturday despondency and desperation every single day? Just like the Jewish Christ followers, we can declare that the LORD is upright, we can sing his praises to those who don't know him, just as the Jews sang God's praises to their children from sunset on the day of Jesus' crucifixion till sunset on the Sabbath. 

Oh happy day! There is a Redeemer; Jesus, God's own Son! Shout from the mountaintops that Christ is risen from the dead!