The very first blog I wrote in ministry was about Easter. It was my first day in the office, and my student pastor asked me to write for our website. There was no prompt or direction, just Easter. I’d pay money to read that blog today. I remember getting my study bible out and researching the holiday so I could attempt to present a complete and clear explanation for our students. But I don’t think I wrote about this.
I know Easter was over a month ago, so I’ve missed the window for a timely post, but this idea has been resonating with me ever since Easter weekend — the idea of “Silent Saturday.” The day between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. I think because this Easter was so different from any Easter weekend I’ve ever experienced, this idea of a day of waiting through silence resonated with me.
No one went out to buy Easter outfits, few cooked up large meals for Easter lunch, and even fewer travelled to a church building for a service. For me, Easter in quarantine looked like baggy sweatpants, coffee brewed in my own kitchen, and sharing a couch with my dog as we watched not one, but three Easter services online. And honestly, it was so refreshing. For the first time in my ministry, I wasn’t stressed and overloaded attempting to pull off a massive creative element or baptism service. My only real responsibility was to be still and process Resurrection weekend in the comfort of my own home.
Good Friday looked like being led in communion with a Pringle and some grape juice by a church hundreds of miles away. Then participating in my own church’s service 20 minutes late after the amount of viewers “broke the internet.” But it was the sweetness of time spent with Jesus remembering His sacrifice, His pain, His loneliness experienced on the cross that began this process for me.
Would I have fallen asleep when He asked me to pray?
Would I have denied knowing Him at all?
Would I have been the one asked to help carry the cross?
Would I have been responsible for burying the body?
Would I have stayed to comfort Mary after watching her son murdered?
What would I have done that night after everyone had left and darkness fell?
I love how descriptive scripture is of the crucifixion and resurrection accounts. I’ve always been interested in all sides of the story, from every possible angle. But there is a big piece missing from the Gospels — Saturday.
“On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” Luke 23:56b
“Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where we was laid.” Mark 15:47
“When the Sabbath was past…” Mark 16:1
“So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:42
“Now on the first day of the week…” John 20:1
“The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.” Matthew 27:62–66
What was happening on that day between the burial and the resurrection?
Everything fell silent. And some wanted to try to make sure it stayed that way.
The Jews were observing Sabbath — a day to “cease.” It was meant for God’s people to share in His rest and remember their purpose in creation. But this one was somber and painful. And Matthew wrote that the Romans were making sure nothing happened at the tomb.
What happens when everything goes silent?
When every detail isn’t mapped out, when there aren’t instruction manuals, when the silence is so heavy you can almost taste it — what do you do? If you are the women who were at Jesus’ burial, you try to keep moving forward. You take the last thing that you heard, and do that thing. So they showed up at the tomb with the spices, but instead of a body, they were met by two strange men.
“He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you…” Luke 24:6
“And they remembered his words…” Luke 24:8
When it’s hard to hear, you need someone to remind you.
Jesus told them what would happen (Luke 9:22). But they were caught up in the natural side of things. The things that happen when someone dies and the body is buried. The things that need to be done. The rituals and practices.
All it took was a simple nudge, and they remembered. Because the women had already decided that Jesus was trustworthy when He walked with them on Earth. He truly was a promise-maker and a promise-keeper.
In seasons of silence, we have to remember the promise.
And it sounds so easy. “Just remember.” But that’s hard when we are caught up in the natural things, the tangible things — what we see, how we feel, what other people are telling us. Our perspective is so often shaped by what’s directly in front of us. Even when what we know to be true contradicts what we see with our own eyes. We let the seen trump the known.
When it’s a silent Saturday in my life, I choose to remember what God has promised me.
He promises good.
He promises grace.
He promises life.
He promises resurrection.
Because that’s the thing about Saturday. It comes before Sunday. And Sunday is resurrection day.