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Saturday, April 3, 2010

'maundy' thursday, 'good' friday, 'desolate' saturday

In observing the death and resurrection of Christ, we focus a lot on ‘good Friday’ and jump to Easter Sunday morning. I know lots of people now are objecting to the term “Easter” being used for the commemoration, but for me Easter is simply the time of remembering the death and resurrection of Christ. The fact that it has been perverted in modern times has no influence on the observance. For that matter, I’m a little shaky on the term ‘good Friday’ too. I’m not entirely sure Jesus died on Friday, but that makes no difference when I’m focused on remembering the events leading up to His Death. He still died, was buried and rose again!

To go on, Friday was an awful time for the disciples, friends and family of Jesus as we consider their horror at His death. Sunday was a glorious time when we remember the victory of his Resurrection. But just think of the desolation that the apostles and family of Jesus must have endured on Saturday!

From events described in the Bible and accounts we have historically, we find that up until the actual death of Christ, the apostles were expecting some fantastic and miraculous event that would stop the process they were seeing and bring God's Kingdom into a blazing and glorious Reality. Surely this Christ, this Messiah, this Son of God would not be allowed to die the ignominious death of a common criminal. And when it actually happened they were distraught. Their faith must have been shattered.

I remember the day after my husband died. It was almost surreal. It simply didn’t seem possible that he was gone. When I actually dwelt on the reality, my world dissolved in blackness. I had no past and no future without him. And this was only the loss of an ordinary man. I can’t imagine how much more greatly magnified the grief of the apostles and Jesus’ family must have been! This was the Man who had instilled in them such great faith in Him and in God’s Teachings. His promises of a coming Kingdom were glorious. His teachings of a new life were wonderful. The intimate relationship with the Father God which he showed them was magnificent beyond their imaginings. But to them it all became empty words as they faced the harsh reality of His Death.

With no hope of anything more, the women came early on Sunday morning, their first chance after Sabbath to anoint the body properly since they hadn’t had opportunity in the rush to get Jesus body in the tomb before Sabbath began. They didn’t come expecting Him to have risen from the tomb. In their experience, in the experience of all men to that time, when a man was dead he stayed dead. They came in absolute and complete anguish to do the last kindness they could for their beloved Jesus. To them
now, He wasn’t a wonderful Messiah. He wasn’t a Divine Teacher. He was just a man like any other who had taught a wonderful message, but had died without seeing it fulfilled. And yet they loved Him.

Saturday must have been a time of unspeakable loss and complete devastation beyond any expression. The Man whom they had believed to be the Eternal Son of God, had been proven to be simply a human being like they were themselves. They had not only lost a dear friend and brother and son, they had lost their faith.

And so the women came, grieving and faithless, but still loving to do that last simple kindness for the man of clay that they still loved. And they found instead, the angel who said to them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

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