The Saturday between the Friday on which Jesus died and the Sunday of his resurrection must have been a day of grief, despair, confusion, and divine silence.
Have you ever had a day like that?
Where are you God? What was that all about anyway? Why did you allow such a disaster? None of this makes any sense.
The weekend of Jesus’ death and resurrection was the climax of God’s redemptive work in human history, and it also represents an outline of a larger reality:
Death, Faith, New Life.
Death on Friday: Jesus satisfied God’s Law and sacrificed himself for the sins of the world. This was necessary because God’s justice demands atonement for sins. (True goodness and justice does not overlook evil. Ask anyone who has been a victim of violence or injustice.) Throughout the Old Testament God provided the sacrificial system, most notably a holy Day of Atonement, to cover the sins of God’s people. In a stunning convergence of God’s holy justice and crazy love, his own Son became the final perfect sacrifice for sin.
Faith on Saturday: Jesus Christ defeated sin and death at the cross and inaugurated God’s Kingdom on earth. However, evil is still active in this world until Jesus returns a second time to lock it up for good. Those who follow Christ live in the tension between faith in the One who has conquered sin and the undeniable fact of evil’s presence in and around us. We live with confidence and confusion, faith and doubt, clarity and questions, spiritual power and human weakness. It is a time for faith.
New Life on Sunday: Jesus rose from the grave on Sunday in victory over sin and death. He is alive now and forever, and his resurrection is the basis for our confident hope that one day everything will be made perfectly new. Like brave shoots of early spring flowers emerging from snow-covered ground, new life is a regular feature of our earthly existence, and it is a sign of our ultimate resurrection and redemption.
For now, however, life on this damaged earth is like the Saturday between Jesus’s death and resurrection. It must be lived in faith.
Bishop Desmond Tutu, quoted by Philip Yancey in a Christianity Today article “National Tragedy and the Empty Tomb,” said, “For us who are Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof positive that love is stronger than hate, that life is stronger than death, that light is stronger than darkness, that laughter and joy, and compassion and gentleness and truth, all these are so much stronger than their ghastly counterparts.”
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'” John 11:25-26