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.