>Easter is always a fun time of the year. Aside from the ridiculous amounts of candy, the costumes–er, outfits that people wear to church on Easter make it worthwhile almost by themselves. One of my students described a crocodile leather/peacock feather combination that makes me long for time travel so I might witness its beauty with my own eyes. Easter rocks.
I do have to admit, for purely selfish reasons, Easter is also great because we get Good Friday off. Any day off from school to recharge my frayed battery is welcome. Good Friday–the moniker, not the actual holiday–has always bugged me (whats so good about torture and death? Can’t we go with Necessary Friday or Cross Friday or something?) and so not having to teach on Good Friday was a blessing in disguise. I actually started to cringe everytime I said Good Friday…just seems wrong to me.
Of course, Sunday is also a fantastic day. My favorite scene in The Passion of the Christ is the end, when Christ rises as the stone is rolled back. It’s a beautifully done scene, and after watching it the first time in the theaters I was ready to charge into the abyss for God. It is a powerful reminder of just how amazing the gift of our risen Savor really is: God fought death and won, and He did it for me. Praise His name! I’m glad the world still shuts down to recognize such an important day in our history…we haven’t completely lost control of Easter yet. (Although there’s something inherently hinkey about the name “Easter” and everything that goes into it…it’s a pagan holiday honoring a Christian miracle. But that can be another post.)
What I realized while planning my Easter summary for class is that we seem to have forgotton one of the days. Christ died, was in the grave for three days, and rose again. We got the death, we got the resurrection, but what about the third day? Or in this case, the second day? What about Saturday?
Very little is known about Saturday. We know its a Sabbath day, so there wouldn’t be any work (this is why the women went to the tomb on Sunday…they couldn’t on Saturday) but other than that, we don’t get much detail, even from Luke the master storyteller and reporter. So what happened on Saturday?!
I can only imagine what Jerusalem must have been like on the day after. There are two groups of people; disciples who aren’t quite sure what hit them and Jews who aren’t quite sure what’s coming.
The disciples have spent the last three years following this man, hanging on every word, every action, and have developed the faith and courage to say that He was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. They’ve left jobs, hometowns, families, wealth, everything and followed this man, and now He’s dead. He said He would rise on the third day, but that had to be a long twenty-four hours, wondering if they’re going to be the next to die, to be beaten, to be crucified.
The Jews think that they have won. The nuisance that has threatened their precious heirarchy is dead, the rebellion seemingly squashed. However, at the moment Jesus died, some incredibly weird things happened: the dead rising from split open graves, earthquakes, the temple curtain being torn from top to bottom, storms. Something doesn’t seem right about this “victory.” They know the rumors as well, that Jesus was going to raise Himself from the dead on the third day, and so they’re sitting there, enjoying a potentially short-lived triumph.
Two groups, both unsure about what comes next, sitting…and waiting.
I think that is why Sunday is such a day of joy. The fear, the apprehension, the chaos of Saturday leads into the unbridled joy of Sunday and our risen Lord. Terror turns into happiness, sadness into joy, and defeat into eternal victory. If we had a little more apprecation for Saturday in our lives, I think we’d be able to appreciate Sunday that much more.
“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28:6