Jesus has been buried with Roman centurions posted by the tomb to protect it from tampering. At the arrest of Jesus, all the disciples had “deserted him and fled.” Where they went that night, I do not know. Eventually, they regrouped, huddling in fear behind locked doors as they hid from the Jewish authorities who might want to nail them next.
This is not how they had written the script. They were to be reigning not running. What happened to the promise of the Kingdom? How could the Christ… die? Not only die but suffer such a humiliating defeat.
The disciples had expected to win. But on Saturday, all hope looks entirely lost. Saturday must have felt like the burial of a dream. If only we had some of those Saturday conversations recorded.
Eventually, someone would have removed the cork from the bottle with the question, “Where is God in this?” Others would have chimed in, “What purpose can he possibly have to allow such an injustice? I thought he was sovereign. I thought he loved us. What did we do wrong to deserve this? It is not fair. We gave our lives to follow him.”
Aren’t these the same questions we ask when God seems distant? When it feels as if he is busy taking care of problems on the other side of the world and has abandoned us. Why is he silent to our prayers?
Why the sickness? Why the accident? Why the rain? Why the brokenness? Why the divorce? Why the pain? Why the financial loss? Why the pandemic?
The hardest thing about Saturday is wondering and waiting. Since we do not get our why questions answered on Saturday, in this life, Saturdays can feel like an eternity.
I’m not sure how much to read into this, but Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. This was the day that the Lord had instituted for the Jews to set aside their vocational labors in order to force themselves to trust in God’s provision.
The Sabbath originated in the Israelites’ desert wanderings from Egypt to the promised land. Along the way, the Lord had provided manna for them to eat. They called it bread from heaven. It would appear in the morning like corn flakes on the ground for the people to gather and use as a type of flour.
Typically, manna was good for twenty-four hours. Then it would spoil, which is why the Israelites had to gather it day by day. But on the seventh day, the Sabbath, the people were not to go out looking for their “daily bread” because the Lord would have provided enough on the sixth day to last through the Sabbath.
This was the day they were to rest and remember that God works while we rest. In fact, on this Saturday, he shows us that his greatest work is accomplished when we rest from our labor and trust in his.
What was God up to on Silent Saturday? More than anyone could imagine. I wonder if Isaiah 55:8-11 ever came up in their conversation.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Resting and Trusting
God’s ways. God’s purpose. Frustratingly beyond our grasp in the moment. Nevertheless, the very next day as history was shaken at its core, so many questions would begin to find answers.
They would slowly but surely come to understand that there was purpose in the humiliation of crucifixion. Hope had not been lost. Rather, hope had been secured! Every event that had unfolded was unfolding by divine design. In fact, Jesus’s life wasn’t taken. It was given.
Because God loved us.
And Saturday is for resting in the reconciling love of an Abba, Father who will never let us go. A Father whom we can trust on Saturdays with the childlike eyes of Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6, who advised his own son, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Good advice for Silent Saturday.
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