Between Good Friday and Easter Sunday there was Saturday. We often overlook this day of sorrow. As the shock of Christ’s crucifixion gave way to despair and depression, the apostles went from bold proclaimers to scared fugitives. How could this be happening? Christ was the Son of God. How could He be manhandled, beaten, humiliated and forced to have a cheap criminal’s death? Their world had imploded. Surely they would try and cheer themselves by remembering that He’d mentioned something about “having to die” and then “coming back.” But with vivid and violent memories of yesterday’s helpless Jesus, it may have seemed like wishful thinking. Had they been duped? Had Jesus been just another would-be Messiah, who, when push came to shove, would go the way of many other previous usurpers and rebels? Perhaps He had been an especially good and charismatic rebel? The best of them all. But a disappointment nonetheless. A mere brilliant optimist with no true destiny or power.
Much of our Christian walk is in this in-between “Saturday of Sorrows.” Yesterday we remember the power and passion of our conversion. The sweet honeymoon stage of our first steps as new Christians. Then came deserts of vicious trials. To which their seemed no end. And these trying times seemed sometimes more real then the sweetness of yesterday. As though we had momentarily been wrapped up in a last childhood fantasy, only to have adulthood’s dry reality come boomeranging back. And to be here to stay. We had heard that these trials would come. We nodded our heads when older Christians talked about the deserts of testing. But now that we are in the deadness of them, these past warnings have little power to brighten the current harshness of today.
Yet the Glory of Easter Sunday is a historical fact. No other facet of Christianity is more well established then the empty tomb of Sunday morning. Of the scared fugitive apostles coming out of hiding to find a newer, stronger boldness then they ever had. The earliest Christians, in the face of torture and death, believed, unequivocally, that they had seen a perfectly healthy, post-crucifixion, post-death-and-burial Jesus. Alive and perfectly well. The curing of blindness, lameness and leprosy had been child’s play compared to this final earthly miracle: the Resurrection. To the Christian enduring trial, remember that our Faith has an Easter Sunday. Yours may not be a historical fact yet, but countless Christians before you and after you will wallow in the sorrows of Saturday before reaching the Resurrection Sunday of their Christian walk.
The reality of Saturday will not go away until the school of suffering has done its work. You are being molded more deeply during trial than at any other time in your life. Hang on. Sunday is coming…