Easter Reflections: Easter Saturday

I often wonder if Easter Saturday must have been the worst day for the disciples.

Perhaps all day through Good Friday they had half expected Jesus might pull some sort of miracle out from somewhere and save himself. That the angels would come and rescue him.

But as each hour went past and the beatings and floggings and mockery perpetuated and insult added to injury, their hopes must have faded, perhaps even tinged with a faint glimmer of ‘surely Jesus will stop this soon.’ Jesus was only just beginning his ministry, there was so much more yet to do?

But as night became morning came on that Friday, and he was hauled up to the wooden cross surely the angels would step in now? When they heard the sickening sound of nails been driven through flesh and bone and the agonising cries of their beloved friend… Surely God would intervene now?

The Jesus they had seen perform incredible miracles. He’d raised people back to life, fed thousands with a few crumbs and two measly fish, surely he could step down from the cross and show himself as both victor and untouchable.  Or, perhaps if he didn’t stop this travesty, he would be taken straight to heaven in a whirlwind like Elijah, and bypass the pain and suffering of a tortuous crucifixion.

But he didn’t step down, and he did suffer it; the searing gut wrenching pain of the nails and the whip and the loss of his father’s presence as he hung naked and humiliated, in desperate suffering.

Darkness fell across the land and hopes started to fail, until at three o’clock Jesus breathed his last.

Nothing had saved him.

All was lost.

He was really dead. Even in those days they knew when someone was dead.

The spear stabbed in his side proved it as water and blood flowed from his lifeless heart. Numb and frightened those who loved him took down his body from the cross and wrapped it as best they could, as quickly as they could, before the Sabbath arrived at sunset.

They had so little time, and so much grieving to do.

So the body of Jesus lay in a borrowed tomb, until Jewish law allowed them to anoint it properly on Sunday.

And those who loved him, who had hoped for something, anything better than this, who had trusted his messianic message of love and power now faced the bleakest of Saturdays. Not knowing the future. Desperate, scared and hopeless.

We all face times like this, when all hope seems lost, and Jesus understands this.

That’s why he asked them to trust him, despite what was going to happen. But those fallible disciples hadn’t understood that after the darkness would come the most brilliant dawning of light and new hope for all of us.

That’s why he asks us to trust him today. Because of that Easter Saturday we can all have hope however dark it seems now, the light will shine again somehow, someday.

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