The Reality of Saturday

I can’t stop thinking about the mood this day must have held. I’ve been putting myself in the place of the disciples all morning. Jesus was crucified yesterday and now he is sealed tightly in a tomb. What is happening?

“And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb” (Matthew 27:55). I’ve always thought the burial was the most heartbreaking part of a funeral. It feels defeating, it feels final, and it feels like the end. A funeral can feel celebratory if done well, but nothing about a burial feels celebratory. It just feels sad. When I put myself in the place of both Marys, I feel heartbroken. They were just sitting and watching. What could they do? Maybe they were sitting on a rock holding onto each other, trying to comfort one another while they watched their son, friend and Savior disappear into a tomb.

And where were the disciples all this time? The only disciple recorded at the crucifixion was John. It is likely that Jesus’ disciples were forbidden from watching the crucifixion. Either way, where were they? I imagine them huddled in one of their homes, weeping together in understood silence. This moment was heavy. We know the cross as victory, but it couldn’t have felt that way at the time. And now, after the burial, they must have felt so defeated. Oh, they held onto hope I’m sure. After all, Jesus told them exactly what would happen in Matthew 17:22-23. “Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.’ And they were greatly distressed.”

We know from earlier in the chapter that he had already revealed this at least once. Peter wasn’t having it, though. “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you,” he said (17: 22). Jesus made it clear, but did they fully understand? Who could comprehend Jesus being resurrected when nothing like this had ever happened? They didn’t want to believe it before, but now it was happening in real time. How did they feel?

They probably looked back on those claims from Jesus and held onto them tightly. They were hopeful but also human, so of course their confidence wavered. I know mine would. They didn’t know the end of the story. It brings me to tears imagining the disciples clinging to their faith while the religious leaders shouted victory. They must have felt so alone, maybe even humiliated as they were undoubtedly jeered at, hearing “told you so” over and over. My heart breaks for them.

Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost (“Death Was Arrested”)

I imagine that being the overall mood of this day. I imagine Jesus’ doubters claiming victory, claiming they were right all along, claiming heaven had lost. They thought they had won.

Oh but we know the end of the story. We know what comes tomorrow. We know that Jesus won.

Tomorrow gives us hope.
Tomorrow is our victory.
Tomorrow seals our future.

But today, Jesus was buried. To fully comprehend the victory that tomorrow brings, we have to remember the reality of today. Jesus died and was buried. People mourned and grieved. They doubted whether he was truly the Messiah. His enemies thought they had won. His disciples weeped and clung to their hope with all they had.

Today is dark, but tomorrow is coming.


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