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The Darkness of Holy Saturday


The day the Christ was dead.  The day of the tomb.  The day of fear.  The day of betrayal.  The day of dissolution.  The first day of the end.

Unsealed readers, I don't know if I have ever heard preaching on this subject but perhaps this is a word the Lord has given me, birthed from the lowest point in my life.  The moment when God seems to be gone, Holy Saturday.  Launched that agonizing moment on the Cross when Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"  Saturday, minus the physical horror of the cross is in some ways the darkest day of all.  This is the day that Jesus' body lay in the tomb.

To the followers of Christ, this must have been the worst day of their lives.  Think about it for a minute, forget your knowledge of the Resurrection, forget that you know the end of the story, simply go to the upper room with me and imagine.

Holy Saturday
The Apostles are hiding, certain they will be killed if found.  The fear of gruesome death and humiliation torments them.  They have lived with Roman oppression, they know what happened to Jesus.  He was the most powerful man on Earth and they killed him, how vulnerable they must have felt! Peter did not deny knowing Christ without a reason. How terrified would you be waiting for the knock at the door that signaled they had come for you?

Their friend Judas had betrayed the Lord and was gone.  He had fallen prey to the lies of the Devil himself.  With Jesus out of the way, the poor disciples who had cast out demons in Jesus name must surely know that the hoards of Hell were coming after them.  With Jesus dead, they would be fresh meat for the demons.  

Judas was the caretaker of the money for the group and it stands to reason he would have taken all of their funds with him when he left.  So they are broke, with a price on their heads, and they are trapped.  They have no way to pay off anyone to help them escape, how are they going to get food?  The followers of Jesus had scattered and the people of Jerusalem had called for the Lord's Crucifixion, without funds there is no one to help them.

Grief
Then there is the disillusionment.  These men had given up everything to follow Jesus - homes, families, business, position in the community.  I am sure there were those in their families that thought they were crazy, that condemned them for not doing the "responsible" thing and leading a normal life.  I am sure there were a few Mother-in-laws who had condemned them for leaving home and hearth to follow this rabbi.  As they sat in the upper room that day, they had to face the crushing possibility that they had been wrong and everyone else had been right.  Had they wasted the last three years?

Jesus had predicted his own death about a dozen times, but from all accounts, His words seem to have been hidden from the Apostles.  It was like Jesus had spoken in code and they had not heard or understood what He was saying.  There had been no Pentecost, there was no Holy Spirit speaking to them, they were totally in the dark.  This is demonstrated by their disbelief on Easter morning and Thomas' rejection of the testimony of the ten.  So I do not believe that they took comfort and hope that Jesus would rise again, this Saturday did not serve that purpose.

Curled Up in Grief
Holy Saturday was designed to buffet the Apostles.  It was designed for them to reflect.  It was designed to bring them to the lowest points in their lives and to prepare them for the work to come.  Holy Saturday is what Christianity would be without the Resurrection - dead.

I believe we all have Holy Saturdays in our lives.  Our dreams, hopes, aspirations and loved ones are taken away on Friday.  We curl up in hiding, mourning, and fear on Saturday.  Saturday is lonely and scary but take heart Sunday is on the way.  On Sunday there is victory, new life, and resurrection!  Praise God.
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