Holy Saturday. The day after Holy Friday. The second of three momentous days. After the frenzied, high drama of the past several days, a day of stillness. A day of near silence, even in the Scriptures. But not a day without reactions certainly, and wildly differing reactions at that.
For the Jewish leaders, Jesus’ burial signaled the end of a long and bitter struggle to remove the threat of this latest prophet, this embarrassing Galilean of all people! He had been ruffling feathers throughout Judea for several years now and his open defiance of their power, their position, their prestige, was absolutely galling. His infectiously charismatic, crowd-pleasing teachings were, well, seditious! His claims to be God were outright heresy. Yes, yes, good riddance. What a waste of time and resources had been expended on removing this troublesome pest. It was a nasty business, but now, at last, they could resume their normal routines, re-establish their rightful positions, finally get some well-deserved rest. Phew.
For the Romans governing this contentious region, trying to keep Caesar happy by keeping the peace was always a gamble. These Jews, with their strange ways, their one God to worship, their endless rules and regulations, were a mystery, a nuisance, a perennial annoyance. This latest turmoil concerning a Galilean named Jesus, was typical of the infighting the Romans were obligated to resolve for them. With any luck, should the gods be favorable, the angry mob will be pacified by his crucifixion and peace and order can be restored. A good crucifixion had a way of reminding even Jews of the supremacy of the power and authority of the Roman government. Yes, this should be the beginning of a season of relative calm here in Judea.
For Satan and his demonic crew, there was exultant celebration at their astonishing win. After centuries of trying to get the better of God, they had finally done it! God’s Son was dead. Finished, as He Himself had declared from the cross (had sweeter words ever been spoken?). He had managed to cry out, confessing his failure, just seconds before He died. All hell went berserk with dark glee at this! And the celebrations wouldn’t stop! Seeing the devastation on the faces of his followers confirmed the once for all defeat. And hadn’t the sky darkened to their great delight during the afternoon, another confirmation that darkness was winning? Oh, the plans they were making! Oh, the unbridled chaos about to be unleashed on the world! No longer entangled by the chains God had imposed. Free now to wreak havoc! Victory!
For Jesus’ disciples, crushing shame and guilt at their abandonment of their friend, their Master, their Messiah. They couldn’t speak it aloud, but they knew – it was because of them that Jesus had died. It was their fault because they had caved in to fear, exactly as Jesus had warned them. It was because of them because they hadn’t taken seriously Judas’ rabid talk of forcing Jesus’ hand, of providing Jesus with the perfect opportunity to show the religious leaders who he really was, what power he truly held. And now, Judas was dead! Dead! By suicide! In their shock and dismay, they had all thought of it, too. Their world was shattered, their future bleak, hopeless, directionless, leaderless. They were abject failures, despite all Jesus had said to encourage them, despite their thickheadedness. And now what? Who were they in the world without Jesus? It was all too painful to consider.
For the courts of Heaven, this second day was agonizing. Everything was in readiness – the choirs, the trumpeters, the harps, the lyres, the drums, the cymbals, the dancers, the cherubim, the seraphim, the banners, the feast. But it all had to wait until the signal, sometime tomorrow, on the first day of the week, hopefully early in the morning. The quiet was deafening! They were ready! So ready! Holding-their-breath ready! Too-excited-to-speak ready! Why? Because Jesus had done it! He had won just as the Father said he would! Yesterday afternoon, the moment Jesus’ body was wrapped and placed in the pristine quiet of the tomb and sealed with that huge stone, it had begun. Heaven went bonkers! All the preparations had been held in reserve until the moment of the Father’s choosing, but at His nod, it was like an explosion of joyful chaos and energy and love oozing everywhere, and I mean everywhere! Jesus was coming home! Home! After all this time away! After doing His Father’s bidding, at last coming home! Oh man, the aching anticipation! Everywhere, on all the golden streets, there were giggles of excitement, muffled laughter, and silent, conspiratorial winks. This was bigger than that dark night when God appeared on earth as a human baby boy, surrounded in such deep mystery that even the angels didn’t fully understand. But this! Hoo boy! This time beats every record, will forever be the party to end all parties! But for now, the waiting . . . !
What will the morrow bring? See y’all then, 10 AM, 4 PM. PD