Approximately 1,984 years ago, the people sat around wondering why the world they had known was crashing in all around them.
We observe Good Friday, the day that Jesus was crucified to pay the punishment we should have paid. We also observe Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the grave. Both days are obviously crucial to the history of the universe. But do we ever stop to think about Saturday?
If you think about it, that Saturday was one of the darkest days in the history of the earth. God had literally come to earth, and was now dead. The problem was, the people were expecting Jesus to take power as a king of some sort, overthrowing the Roman government and freeing the people from their oppression. So when He died, they were really confused and likely quite disappointed. Saturday was probably a day where many of Jesus' followers were questioning what they had believed. How could they just go on with their lives after what they had seen and experienced?
But see, what made this confusion silly was that Jesus had on numerous occasions directly told them what was going to happen to Him. In Luke 18:32-33, speaking about Himself, Jesus said: "'He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.'" How hard was this to understand? According to the next verse, "The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about." I don't think this means that God directly blinded their hearts to the truth, or that He was trying to trick them. I think they were just so caught up in their own way of thinking that they just didn't take seriously what Jesus was saying. They probably thought it was some sort of metaphor, or maybe Jesus was just taking the Debbie Downer perspective on their pending arrival in Jerusalem. One thing's for sure: they were told many times (this had been the third instance recorded in Luke), and they still didn't get it.
That the women went back to tell the apostles that Jesus had risen and they didn't believe them tells me that Saturday had not been a hopeful day for the group. They obviously weren't expecting Him to rise again on the third day like He said, since if they were expecting that, someone probably would have been sitting in line of sight of the tomb waiting for it to happen. (If the guards hadn't been there, they would all be sitting right by the stone.) But no, they were hiding scared. They were fearing for their lives, wondering what they should do with their futures now that Jesus was gone.
There are still many people living in this ignorance. A Jehovah's Witness came to our door recently and invited us to "a memorial celebrating the death of Jesus." How can you be a witness of Jehovah if He's dead? And there are many people who have been deceived to think that God is still dead, or that He never lived. What a dismal outlook if you're living in a Saturday perspective.
But there's good news: GOD'S NOT DEAD! He's surely alive! And you can know Him. He's there for you and He wants to be in relationship with you. All you need to do is confess your sins and choose to follow Him. He is risen, and the fact that He rose set the precedent so that you can rise too. Death could not hold Him down, and it won't hold us down either.
Thank the Lord that this particular Saturday was just another 24-hour day. The sun went down, the sun came up, and the Son came up too.