Today is a strange day. It is that unscripted place in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In between Jesus' death and his resurrection. Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are big days in the church. We get together and sing and pray and talk about Jesus. Saturday is just...Saturday. A day of...what exactly? There is nothing to celebrate today. Jesus is simply gone. Dead. Buried.
Jesus is gone.
The frenzy of Passover. Jesus entering Jerusalem with crowds cheering him on both sides, the Passover feast, and even the trials and crucifixion involved people. Crowds. A sort of excitement. What would Jesus do next? Certainly he would show his deity now? His power? He had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Certainly he would do something amazing!
Jesus is gone.
So here we are. Alone in the unknown. Alone with our thoughts. Jesus was human. Jesus bled and hurt and cried and died. He didn't conquer anything. All of our hopes are dashed. We thought we were following a savior. But Jesus didn't even save himself.
What do we do now?
How do we go on?
When we left it all to follow him, and now he's not here.
The women waited until after the Sabbath to prepare his body. They would see him one last time and do the last thing they could for him. They had loved him as a man as well as a savior. The men didn't even have that small comfort. They would just have to go back to their old jobs. Fish again for fish instead of men. It was over. The dream of a new Israel with Jesus as Messiah-King was over. The days of following Jesus, seeing the miracles, soaking in the excitement of the crowds that surrounded him, outfoxing the Pharisees, all was over.
We know what to expect tomorrow morning. We have our Easter outfits ready. We plan to attend Sunrise Service. Easter Breakfast. Worship service. Easter Dinner. There are baskets and candy and colored eggs for the kids. lt will be a day of joy and fun. We will sing of Jesus' resurrection, how he conquered the grave and death. We look forward to this all year. It is what we base our faith on. Jesus died on the cross, and on the third day he rose again! He is our King! He is our God! He is our Lord!
But let's not forget this day. Let's not forget this feeling of being let down. Of being alone. Because this is what it feels like to be without Jesus. And there are so many out there who live this feeling every single day. People try to fill up the void with so many things. Work. Entertainment. Friends. Family. Food. Anything to not feel this emptiness. This nothingness. This thought that nothing really matters. In the end nothing makes sense. In the end, we are just alone in the unknown and after this...nothing.
If you're there right now, I want you to know that there is another way. There is a way to be full of joy and peace instead of emptiness. There is a way to be known and to be free and to know what happens next. Because Jesus did conquer death that day. The Bible says that Jesus Christ died so that we would have everlasting life. He died to atone for our sins, and so that we can live life fully and with purpose:
For you have been called for this purpose, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps, He who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being abusively insulted, He did not insult in return; while suffering, He did not threaten, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself brought our sins in His body up on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25, NASB)
Jesus is not gone. He is alive. He is available to everyone who calls on His name. He is our savior and our king. I pray that each of you would come to know the truth. Jesus said “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b-32, NIV)
Today there is hope. There is peace. There is joy. Because there is Jesus.