“Jesus said, “It’s done . . . complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit.” John 19:30 (The Message)
And now we wait. We mourn. We gather. We wonder. We believe. We trust. We hope…
…that what He said He would do, He would do.
Jesus died a brutal death and was buried in a rock-sealed tomb on Friday and walked right out of that place on Sunday very much alive. But wait… what about Saturday?
For the followers of Jesus, Saturday’s silence pierced. It hung. The world stood still. What now?
They waited. In silence. He told them he would return. But did they really think he would? Everything they had placed their hope in was buried in that rock solid tomb. They mourned and imagine how they would live their lives without him in it. What if He didn’t come back? What if Hope stayed buried. They missed him already. Their bodies ached for his presence. To walk with him. To learn from him. To be with him. They loved him.
Between the Old Testament and the New Testament, there was a period of 400 years in which God was silent. 400 years! 400!! Then when the silence ended, it was time for Jesus to come. Let that soak in for a bit. God wasn’t taking a 400-year long nap. He was preparing the way. Something good was coming. Jesus.
The night before the journey to the cross, three times, Jesus prayed in the garden “God, is there another option? Must I drink this cup of death? This cup of sorrow? Is there another way?” There was silence in the garden. Even the disciples slept. Jesus already knew the answer. He wasn’t asking God if he would change his mind or find another way. He was asking God to confirm what he knew had to happen. To reassure him that he could do this. That love was worth it. To let him know that God is not going to leave him alone in this. He wanted God’s will not the will of his flesh. “Not my will but yours, Lord.” Matthew 26. It would be in the silence that he gained the strength he would need to love – to love us to death.
“Jesus knew God would not leave him alone in the grave. You need to know, God will not leave you alone with your struggles. His silence is not his absence, inactivity is never apathy. Saturdays have their purpose. They let us feel the full force of God’s strength. Had God raised Jesus fifteen minutes after the death of His son, would we have appreciated the act? Were He to solve your problems the second they appear, would you appreciate His strength?
For His reasons, God inserts a Saturday between our Fridays and Sundays. If today is one for you, be patient. As one who endured the silent Saturday wrote: “Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7 NKJV)
~Max Lucado, The Silence of Saturdays
I’m undone with the meaning of Easter this year. Much more so than in years past. Possibly because I feel like I’m walking through a time in my life that feels much like Saturday’s silence. I’m coming to realize that the sound of silence can do a world of good. What if the best stuff happens in Saturday’s silence? What is He preparing for me?
Jesus will not leave us in our silent Saturdays. He decides when it’s time to end the silence. He decides when our Sunday comes. He speaks to us in His timing and His timing is always perfect.
In Saturday’s silence, if I follow Jesus’s lead and lie still, embrace the silence and trust God, I gain the strength to live. To love. To learn patience and peace and how to praise the Jesus who sacrificed his very life for me and will walk right out of that stone cold tomb very much alive. He will not stay silent. He will not remain silent. He loves me (and you) too much to leave us alone. He will come for me on my Sunday. He is very much alive!
Sunday is coming!
“Be strong and brave, and don’t tremble in fear of them, because the Eternal your God is going with you. He’ll never fail you or abandon you!” Deuteronomy 31:6 (The Voice)
You can read Max Lucado’s, The Silence of Saturday here.