The gap between Friday and Sunday
“And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, after watching what had happened, began to return home, beating their chests. And all His acquaintances and the women who had accompanied from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.” Luke 23:48-49 (NASB)
The period from those last breaths on Friday afternoon until what we now call Easter Sunday morning is an interesting passage of time. Jesus has been taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed grave. The Disciples have run for cover. Peter has no doubt internalized what has happened-very bitterly. Judas, well… The Marys - broken, distraught, but now possibly more together than ever given their desire to tend to Jesus’ body. The Jews are on the way home ‘beating their chests” but the leadership is holding on to some fears-notably the one that leads them to urge the Romans to seal the Tomb with a giant stone. For the Romans, it was probably just another day of rule and control in occupied Jerusalem.
When Christ died with the words, “It is finished,” the family, friends and followers of our Savior were disoriented and plunged into a profound melee of emotions and emptiness. Some might say - trauma. A great personal tragedy had befallen them. The Miracle Man with whom they had served, walked, argued, laughed, and dined was gone. Betrayed and taken out by their kinsmen. They now faced the prospect of a return to mundane life as fishermen, lowly servants of an occupied state, simple men and women with no hope, and memories of empty promises and grand statements from this great teacher who was about to be placed in a heavily guarded tomb. This man who literally promised them the Earth, eternal riches, and declared Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life had been removed from them. The fiery light He brought to their souls had been extinguished. They forgot everything He told them. For them, it was the darkest, loneliest, scariest 24 hours imaginable.
I wonder have you ever felt the Lord’s absence? Are your experiences at odds with what you have been taught about Jesus? Have they left you empty, disappointed - traumatized? Has the light that once burned brightly in all aspects of your life been extinguished? For Jesus’ followers, it was one day of racing emotions, pain, and loss. But for many of us life’s challenges and losses have ripped a huge chasm in our expectations that lasts for weeks, months, years even. What pain and anguish fills the space between your Friday and Sunday?
Our enemy wants to keep you in a strange no-mans land. He wants to generate as much disappointment, cynicism, and lack of trust that he can muster. He wants to squeeze every drop of hope, enthusiasm, joy, and life out of your weary souls. He presents every powerful truth ever uttered by Jesus Christ as clanging metal, to the point that His very name is a source of anger, bitterness, and life-long resentment. He will attempt to ignite a flame in your life with less wholesome activities. He will offer all sorts of alternatives to fill your void. Don’t let him!
Let’s back up a bit. What was JESUS doing between Friday and Sunday?
Remember what happened when Jesus died? There was an earthquake and the Veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:51) Something profoundly powerful had happened in both the natural and heavenly realms. There was now access to the Father! God was more reachable than ever before! Religious ritual and burdensome observance of laws had been superseded in a new Way. Christ had reconciled a broken world to God. Grace and Mercy were available in abundance – a never-ending supply! The penalty of sin had been paid!
Jesus’ followers, broken and distraught, were closer to God than they realized. Jesus is doing a work in you and for you. He has not abandoned you! Jesus was securing our eternal future and that is how we must think!
It doesn’t dawn on His followers (pun intended) until Sunday morning what has happened. But we don’t have to wait on His promises of eternal life until our resurrection. We can enjoy that now!
[As adapted from The Bondage Breaker and Stomping Out The Darkness by Dr. Neil Anderson and Dr. Dave Park.]