The first pre-Easter Saturday was a black day. For the dear ladies who followed Jesus, the horror of Friday had been even worse than their worst nightmares. Jesus was dead; they’d watched the crucifixion with their own eyes. He was buried; they’d watched Nicodemus and Joseph place His lifeless body in the tomb. The One who loved them was gone. The One who represented hope was gone. The One who gave meaning to every tradition was gone.
If I had been one of those women, I don’t know that I would’ve done what they did that Saturday. “The women who had come with Jesus…saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared the spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment” (Luke 23:55-56). The women went on with life. They kept the Sabbath as if nothing had changed.
If ever there was a day when breaking the Sabbath would’ve been excused, certainly it was that Sabbath. They had every reason to abandon the traditions when the fulfillment of all those traditions lay in a cold tomb. Certainly the precious body of Jesus deserved their touch of devotion that day.
But they waited. They obeyed the command of a God who had, it appeared, just betrayed them. They followed the word of a God who had just disappointed them. They kept the tradition of a God who had just died in front of them. Somehow in spite of the cruel turn of events, they still believed. God would save them. He hadn’t abandoned them. He hadn’t forgotten His promises. And they wouldn’t forget Him either.
Sometimes life seems stuck on pre-Easter Saturday: heavy with grief and empty of hope, sometimes even chilled by the sting of death. Life seems like a cruel turn of events.
But we still believe. We still believe in a God who loved us enough to taste and swallow death so we could savor life forever.
I am always aware of God’s great love completed at Easter, but I often am struck by the people around Jesus. They are just like us. They had personal agendas that blinded them from seeing the truth going on in front of their eyes. God knew what a miserable people we are yet loved us so much he sent his Son to die for us. How amazing is that!
So true, Don. 🙂