For the 9 years previous to this one, I worked in a church. One of the joys of that profession in this season is that you get to be a step ahead; Good Friday service is barely over and we were already breaking out the lilies for Sunday morning. The “second day”, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, was often just a joyful day of preparation for THE third day. And we all know what happens on the third day.
But for the first followers of Jesus, it was the day in which they questioned EVERYTHING. The person they gave up everything to follow was just beaten and killed. What now? Everything they based the entire last 3 years of their lives on now seems pointless.
They gathered together to grieve, not celebrate. They prepared, not for his resurrection, but to anoint their dead teacher the next morning.
The questions, I’m sure, where many. “We watched Him. We saw what He did. We saw He had power and authority, but why didn’t He use it? Why didn’t He make them stop hurting Him? There were many other times where He did the impossible and escaped death. Why not now?”
As I try to comprehend what it must have been like to be a disciple on that day, I guess what I realize is that many times the ways in God works seem really messed up. He works in an upside down and backwards kind of kingdom.
We want healing from an emotional burden and we have to walk back through the pain. We want to be the greatest and He calls us to be the least. Someone hurts us and we’re called to turn the other cheek. We’re to love and pray for our enemies.
I don’t know about you but when I start to look at all of this, it seems kind of backwards… kind of imperfect. Yet even when things seem broken, messed up, and imperfect to us… they may be the very things God uses to bring about the greatest joy.
We wouldn’t have Easter without the cross.
We wouldn’t have redemption without a payment for our sin.
We wouldn’t have joy unless our Savior went through the deepest despair.
I’m sure to those disciples on that Holy Saturday 2000 years ago it seemed as God’s “perfect” plan was anything but. Why would their teacher just give up?
Well… because He loved them with a perfect love.
Because He loves us with a perfect love.
While we may have trouble contemplating what this “second day” was like for those disciples, I don’t think we have too much trouble remembering other “second days” in our lives… times when it doesn’t seem “Easter” would ever come… times when we don’t even have a picture of what it could look like… times when we’re stuck in our grief and anxiety and fear… times of waiting with no light spotted in the vast darkness.
But we are not those first disciples. We can look back and see how Sunday turned out. We can hold out hope. We know what Sunday holds. Easter IS coming and God’s got a PERFECT plan whether we see it as that or not.
Soon… light will break through. Soon … we will see the empty tomb. Soon… joy will be restored. Hold on. Easter is coming.