His friends could not believe the vortex they had just survived. A few hours before they were reclining at a table, sharing a meal and listening to His deepest thoughts.
Then, He was gone.
Dragged before a kangaroo court, hustled through an inept and unjust legal process, tortured and impaled on a cross…all in a matter of hours. Now, His body lay in a borrowed tomb.
And with Him, hope.
When He later surprised two of them walking along a road, the devastated disciples admitted as much: “We had hoped.”
Before the tomb was empty, it was occupied. Before the stone was rolled away, it slammed the door on their dreams.
The darkest day was not characterized by the sadness of the Last Supper or the suffering of the Skull Hill, but the silence of the sealed tomb.
Saturday the disciples hid. The doors of the room bolted in fear. The gates of their heart locked in despair.
This day was between. Between the dream and the coming true. Between the virulent cry, “Crucify him!” and the victorious cheer, “He is risen!”…silence.
With the benefit of hindsight we know the end of the story, so Saturday seems but a pause in the parade of victory. But Jesus’ friends had no such view. His prophetic warnings had faded into the blackness of their depression. They had no idea “Sunday was comin”.
Waiting in faith when hope seems lost is the most difficult thing we do. We may not be alone, but we feel it. We may have words of promise, but they ring hollow.
In between hopes dashed and promises fulfilled is a dark, lonely space where raw faith must cling to invisible reality in the face of every reason to give up.
But for those who have the residue of His presence and the echo of His words, waiting is the only option.
The wonder of Holy Saturday to me is that the disciples didn’t disperse–heading back to their old lives and known ways in surrender to the inevitable. Instead, for some reason they waited.
Wondering? Yes. Questioning? Absolutely. Fearing? No doubt. But there was one thing they were not doing…not yet.
Something in them still had confidence about something in Him. Whispers of what might be still held their imaginations.
So they waited. Even though it made no sense, they simply waited.
Sometimes, the greatest act of faith when Hell screams, “It’s over!” is to cling to His words, “It is finished!” and know the difference.