Yesterday was ‘Good Friday’. It’s an interesting day to say the least, because Christians celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah. I am a part of a Christian community in Orange County, CA, and try to make the Good Friday services every year. This year I wasn’t able to make ours… but the day called to mind what I heard one of our pastors speak about a couple of years ago. His message was on recapturing the scandal and absurdity of what ‘Good Friday’ represents. Crosses and images of crucifixion have become such a part of our culture that we tend to forget just how ludicrous it is to have a day celebrating a crucifixion – one of the most ruthless, disgusting, and disrespectful ways that Rome would use to put an insurrectionist to death. As I pondered this same thought today, I realized the significance of this day of the Easter week – the Saturday between crucifixion Friday and resurrection Sunday.
I had never thought about it before, but this Saturday is hugely significant to those who worship the Hebrew God, the God who revealed Himself and displayed His covenant faithfulness through Jesus. Why? Because this Saturday represents what many of us on the Christian journey frustratingly experience on a regular basis: the silence of God. Think just how the 11 disciples and the many other followers felt on this day. They had devoted three years of their lives to following a man they believed would overthrow Rome and restore Israel to its rightful place. Not only was the current outcome a disappointment, but their Messiah and friend had suffered a violent and tragic end on a Roman cross. Imagine the depth of the pain these men and women bore in their souls. It’s over… time to go back to fishing, carpentry, cleaning, etc. The teaching on the Kingdom, the healings, the promises were all for naught. He was a great man, but he couldn’t have been the promised Messiah.
Consider that Jesus’ resurrection could have happened the day after the crucifixion. It could even have happened the same day he hung on the cross, minutes later, even at the moment of his death… Why would God allow the Messiah spend 3 days in Sheol? Why was God silent? I do not think there is a definitive answer to this question. But on this Saturday, I became aware of the greater hope of Easter weekend. It’s the hope that God’s silence is temporary. His promises will be kept. He does not abandon His people. As Saturday fades and Easter Sunday dawns, the people of God can realize that despite the wars that ravage humanity, despite the earthquakes and tsunamis, despite the violence in our cities, and the poor, and the hungry, the brokenness… Despite the moments we feel abandoned by God… Despite the pain deep within us when those we love die… Despite the silence on Saturday… GOD IS NOT THROUGH! He will not stay silent! The Messiah’s grave is not final… And evil and death will not have the last word!
The silence of Saturday is a perfect time for us to reflect on the areas of our life where we have lost hope because we feel God is silent… And surrender them to the hope of resurrection.