Between the Cross and the Resurrection

cross resurrectionThis week, Christians around the world celebrate what is called Holy Week. Though most Christians celebrate Good Friday and Easter, every day of Holy Week is special – each day is unique.

On Palm Sunday, for example, Jesus entered Jerusalem as a humble king. The crowds received him as the promised Messiah with palms and psalms and Hosannas.

On Holy Monday, Jesus cursed the fig tree and cleansed the temple. Holy Tuesday bustled with busyness. Jesus taught the people in parables and watched a widow give everything she had. He answered every challenging question and described a distant day of judgment.

In contrast, Holy Wednesday was seemingly uneventful. One very important event occurred on that day, though. Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, prompting Judas to sell out his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.

Maundy Thursday was the Passover, the Last Supper, Holy Communion, the Garden of Gethsemane and the trial before the High Priest. The night ended with Jesus in chains, Peter weeping bitterly and Judas hanging himself.

The Friday we call Good is history’s defining moment. On that day, God took our place and suffered our pain and punishment. On Good Friday, God died so that we might live.

Saturday was different, though. The only thing we know about Holy Saturday is that the leaders of the Jews asked Pontius Pilate to seal the tomb and place a guard so that nobody could steal the body. They were afraid the disciples would take Jesus’ lifeless cadaver and claim he had risen.

What then follows is a long, dark silence until Easter dawn.

What must that Saturday have been like for Jesus’ disciples? The guilt of having deserted him. The fear they may be next. The confusion. The doubt. He had warned them about his death and promised to rise again, but could that really happen? Maybe it was all a lie.

On Holy Saturday, the disciples waited and wondered. They couldn’t yet see the victory. They had the promise, but their eyes saw only doom and despair. Jesus was dead. All seemed to be lost.

Caught between the cross and the resurrection, the disciples anxiously sat.

And so do we. Jesus’ cross lies behind us, as do all our sins. They were nailed to that cross where they forever will stay. That is why the Friday of Holy Week is called Good.

What lies ahead is the victory, the resurrection, the happiness of heaven.

Yet, like the disciples, here we wait. We wait in the dark silence of a world where all seems to be lost. We wait wondering, often confused, sometimes doubting. Yet we wait in faith, trusting that Easter dawn is coming. Like the disciples, our faith will one day be validated by an empty tomb and a resurrection.

My old English professor, Brian Dose, said it best: “Holy Saturday is where we too live and worship, between the darkness and the dawn. In the moment between our crosses and our empty tombs. Between doubting and touching the glorified wounds that paid for the sins of the world. But tomorrow only heaven.”

As you wait for Easter this Holy Saturday – as you wait in this world of sin and suffering, caught in the darkness between the cross and the resurrection – know that the dawn is coming.

Tomorrow is heaven.

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  11 comments for “Between the Cross and the Resurrection

  1. March 21, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Thank you for writing this posting. It is valuable to me. God bless your Holy Week and Easter celebration!

    • schroera
      March 21, 2016 at 8:47 am

      Thank you, Kim! Have a blessed Holy Week.

  2. Steven
    March 21, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Romans 6 says that my baptism already connects me with Jesus’ death and resurrection. I am already a citizen of heaven and an adopted child of God.

    • schroera
      March 21, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      You are exactly right, Steven. It’s interesting how the Bible speaks. At times it talks of our salvation as being in the future and at times as if it already happened. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice an through baptism, we are adopted children of God. Heaven is ours right now. Yet, for now, we can’t see that heaven or adoption. For now we wait.

  3. Tlaisego Khunou
    March 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you, and may the Almighty God bless you…Blessed Holy week. Your words are an inspiration to me, a minister of the Lord. Am going to be teaching in my Parish Saturday, about resurrection and it’s importance to us.

  4. March 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Was this the time when Jesus descended into hell and showed himself to prove his victory to Satan, his evil angels, and those souls doomed to eternity in darkness?

    • schroera
      March 21, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Great question, Roger. Though we can’t say with exact certainty when Jesus descended into hell, we know it was after he rose (after his body and soul were reunited), but before he came out of the tomb (1 Peter 3:18-22). This places his descent into hell most likely sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

      • Gregg
        March 26, 2016 at 2:46 pm

        The people who saw Jesus risen from the dead first were the people in hell. In order to appear to the people in hell, he had to bodily rise and come out of the tomb. He just had not visibly appeared to the women and Mary Magdalene and the disciples yet. And since the Bible makes clear that Jesus bodily rose on the 3rd day, that would place his descent into hell also on the 3rd day–early Sunday morning, but before he appeared to the women.

  5. Kenneth
    March 21, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Praise God, Thank You JESUS

  6. March 26, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Thanks Andy for all your great posts and may you and your family have a Blessed Easter! One of my favorite passages is “He is not here He has risen, just as He said.”

    • schroera
      March 26, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Thanks, Linda. May God bless your celebration of his resurrection. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

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