The Significance of the Saturday Before Easter
Easter is a wonderful time for Christians all over the world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We remember Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross and we celebrate Sunday, the day he rose from the dead, but what about Saturday? The day after Jesus' crucifixion and the day before his resurrection. Do we take the time to reflect on Saturday? Probably most of us would say Saturday is not important.
We love to talk about Friday. The day Jesus died and gave up his life for us. We understand that this day is important because it was our sin that put him on the cross. The Bible says he who had no sin became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). It was on Good Friday that Jesus put an end to the reign of sin in our lives. However, it is also the day that probably caused confusion for his followers. Jesus’ disciples, both men and women, would have been confused because on the Sunday before Friday, he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people shouted "Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD" (Matthew 21:9). Then on Friday, Jesus died.
Can you relate to how the disciples were feeling on the Friday Jesus died? Their loving friend and Savior was here one day and then gone the next. Have you ever been sure of something in your life, than all of a sudden it was taken away from you? Were you expecting something to happen in your life and then experienced disappointed instead? Were you expecting to be married, have children, have a certain career, have financial stability, or good health, only to be left confused about your situation? This is how the disciples were feeling on Friday, they were completely devastated that Jesus died.
Then there is Sunday. Oh what a glorious day! The day when the impossible became a reality for the disciples. The day that God restored their joy. Their dead Savior was alive! Their wailing turned into dancing! Their crying turned into praise! God turned their situation around and kept his promise. Jesus rose on the third day, just like he said he would.
What a dichotomy between Friday and Sunday, but what about Saturday? We tend to forget the significance of Saturday. It is not an accident that the day between Jesus' death and resurrection was Saturday. Saturday is important because it was the Sabbath. What does the word Sabbath mean? It means to stop, cease, or to keep.
The idea of Sabbath starts with God, who worked for six days and then on the seventh day he rested (Genesis 2:2). God stopped all of his work. God believed in the importance of the Sabbath that he instructed his people to keep the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8). The Sabbath was a gift from God to his people so that they could rest and worship him.
The fact that Jesus' body was laid in a tomb and was resting on a Saturday should cause us to be amazed. The Savior of the world had stopped, had ceased, and was at rest. This was not an accident it was intentional. God was saying, "I am keeping my Sabbath, I am resting." Unlike his disciples who probably was scared and in mourning, Jesus was resting.
We can apply this same truth to our lives. There are situations in our life that we are waiting for to change. We are currently sitting at Good Friday. We are disappointed, confused, and crying over our situation? God, I don't understand? Why did this happen? Why didn't this happen? Just like the disciples, we don't really know how the story is going to end. We haven't reached our Sunday morning resurrection experience. Our situation is dead.
I would like to encourage you that just like how Jesus laid in the tomb and was at rest, may we also rest. May we stop, cease, and worship him despite how we feel. May we bask in God's presence and trust him to work through our situation. May we keep our eyes on God and be affirmed of his love even though we don’t know how our situation will end. May we pause and let our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical self be at rest. Then at the right time, according to God's will, we too can experience our Sunday morning joy, just like Jesus' disciples.
Jesus could have rested in the tomb on any other day during the week but he purposely rested on Saturday, the Sabbath.
This Easter celebrate Friday. Celebrate Sunday, but cherish the gift of Saturday. As you wait for God to change your situation be at rest. Jesus rested, so should we.