Saturday, April 23, 2011

Between Friday and Sunday

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is often lost in the shuffle. As Followers of Jesus, we rightfully contemplate, repent, and think about the enormity of the Cross on Friday. We are struck by the magnitude of God’s grace and mercy upon us, and of the great sacrifice of Jesus. Then on Sunday we spend time in celebration, thankfulness, and joy because the “grave could not hold Jesus”. Without Sunday, Friday doesn’t matter. Without Sunday, we have no hope.

Given the huge role both the death and resurrection play in our faith, no wonder we get caught up in the Friday and Sunday events and what they mean. But the Saturday, the “in between” time is actually of extreme importance as well. Between the death and resurrection of our Savior is a time of deep waiting, yearning, darkness, and anguish.

I often try to put myself in the disciples shoes during this time between death and resurrection. Would I have lost hope? Would I have turned away and ran? Would I have cursed God? Would I have went on with my life as if nothing happened? I am not sure. But I do know one thing, I am thankful in many ways that I didn’t live during that period of time because, frankly, I am afraid that my seemingly little faith would have been my undoing.

But here we are 2000 years removed from this world changing event and we know the outcome of this “in between time.” But as I think about how this “in between time” can still have meaning to me as a Follower of Jesus here and now in the 21st century, my thoughts quickly turn to those who don’t have the same hope we have, the same knowledge we have. The majority of the world still would have many of the doubts, questions, uncertainties, etc. that I posed above that many, if not all, people would have had in the 1st century. Therefore, as Christians tasked to take the Good News to the world, the Saturday in between Good Friday and Easter is actually of the utmost importance to us.

The Word tells us that after Jesus died on the cross that He, “preached to the spirits imprisoned...” (1 Peter 3). While there is debate as to what this means, to me, what is clear is that Jesus was apart from God (utter darkness) during this time. Knowing this we can easily see that temporarily He was like the majority of the world today: apart from God. But He also “preached”….something meaningful for us to know about the “in between” time as well and impart in our lives.

The “in between” time is actually in many ways the time we are living in now. We are between the time of the incarnation, life, death, resurrection of Jesus and the full realization of the Kingdom of God (second coming). And we have but one task given during this “in between” time: make Him known to the world.

During this “in between” time, this particular Saturday:

Over 400 Followers of Jesus will be martyred for their faith

25,000 people will die from preventable causes (i.e. hunger, disease)

155,000 (roughly) will die today in the world, of which roughly 2/3 don’t know Jesus.

Many will be trafficked. Many will die from violence. Many will be abused. Many will be forgotten. Many will not have a chance to start life.

Our faith has everything to do about Saturday. Spend some time this Easter season thinking about that…and doing something about it…May we always spend time in reflection over the enormity of the Cross and Resurrection. May we thank God for His provision and love. But may we also be a people who actively and passionately have something to say to the world that suffers and dies apart from Jesus in the “in between” time.

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