I love Easter (or Resurrection weekend as we should call it… or something not tied to a fertility goddess?). I especially love when Easter and Passover coincide. It’s only been the past couple of years that I’ve been really investigating the Jewish festivals and feasts and how they are connected to followers of Christ. Last year Passover and Easter were really close to each other, and Aaron and I attended our first Passover Seder. It was incredibly meaningful and interesting, and I hope we can go again this year (April 20).
I like to think back to what it might have been like for those who were there when Jesus was crucified and buried. I wonder what Saturday was like for them… Jesus had been brutally killed the day before, and the Sabbath was coming. Not just any Sabbath– a high Sabbath, since it was Passover. On Friday afternoon, Joseph of Arimathea, a good and righteous man and a secret disciple of Jesus, stepped up to the plate and courageously asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Nicodemus (another “secret” disciple it seems) brought about a hundred pounds of spices and aloes to treat Jesus’ body (John 19:39). They wrapped Jesus’ body in linens with the spices according to their customs. The women who followed Jesus took care to watch and be sure Jesus’ body was properly cared for.
“Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” (John 19:41-42)
“And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.” (Matthew 27:61)
“And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56)
I wonder what it was like for Jesus’ followers on that Sabbath. I wonder what was going through their minds. Did some of them understand what Jesus had been telling them and hope that He would be back the next day? Were others devastated and depressed? Did others question the last few years of their lives, wondering if it had been all for nothing? Were some fearful that they would be the next ones to be killed? Did they doubt God?
In my life I have had many “waiting times”. “In-between times” where I wonder what in the world has just happened. When I sit and try to keep breathing despite the pain. Times when I am angry, confused, lost… raising my head to the sky in a silent scream, asking God “WHY?” Times when I battle within myself between holding God at arms’ length and having childlike trust in Him. Sometimes the childlike trust seems foolish, and human logic threatens to win me over to depression. Other times I stare pain and fear in the face and say quietly, “My God is able.”
In those times, I have no idea what is coming next. Every second is a choice to believe God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do.
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Psalm 39:7)
“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)
“I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.” (Psalm 69:3)
Today is a day of waiting. Thank God for tomorrow.