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Between Good Friday and Easter Morning

Tucked in-between the gloomy hopeless night of Good Friday when the Savior was crucified and the glorious Resurrection Morning of Easter is this quiet almost non-existent Saturday. It’s hardly ever talked about, yet it plays a major role in Christ’s mission and ours too.

When he faced Pilate and the Jews right from the previous night, Jesus still had some of his friends with him. It was a terrible day, but at least, his mom and some of his apostles were there to mourn. It was a sad day: the One they had come to trust as the Savior lies seemly helpless at the hands of Pilate and the Jews. It was a sad day, no doubt, but at least the whole city was shaken. Everyone knew that some one important had gone down. Some rejoiced, others mourned,but they all acknowledged the “demise” of Jesus, the "King of the Jews."

On the other hand, Easter morning marked Heaven’s triumph over man’s folly; the transcendence of grace over bullishness; the victory of life over death. Oh, when they thought all hope was gone, then there arose the crucified Lord, alive and well, and reigning for ever. It was in deed a glorious morning.

But in between was Saturday. It was literally one hell of a period. Didn’t the Bible hint that Christ went down to Hades, and disarmed principalities and powers? Wasn’t it within this period in the “grave” that Jesus took the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1: 18)? Whatever happens, those three days between the time Jesus was crucified and the time he resurrected, were certainly important. Yet, whatever was going on down in Hades or right in Heaven at that time was hidden from Israel and from all of Christ’ disciples.

As far as they were concerned, he was dead. We get a picture of their gloom and despair on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:20 24): "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn't find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn't see Jesus." ( Message)

Oh, how sad,. They said: "We had our hopes up, but now he had disappointed us. In fact, to make matters worse, we can’t even find his corps." It sounds a lot familiar,doesn't it? Sometimes, we may have gone through a ‘crucifixion’ crisis, after which all hope seems gone. Others may even write us off as these dear disciples almost did. “We thought she had so much potential, but after several years of no growth, we have given up expecting much from her.” Oh, to be sure, people may not quite put it that directly. But their actions and inactions speak loudly about their belief. It may start with close friends gradually withdrawing, until one day, you ‘wake up’ to realize that all your close friends are gone. They have made themselves new friends who they think are more promising. After all, who wants to hand around a “loser”?

But what they don’t understand is that, within those three days of apparent inactivity or decline, heaven and hell were battling it out, and surely but steadily God is winning in your life; setting things right, reforming you, equipping you, anointing you, and increasing you in grace. Oh, yes, there may be tears and intense battles sometimes, but God is still at work in you. Others may have given up on you, but God who sent you out in the first place knows what he has deposited in you. It may take a while, but surely, he will prevail in your life.

In fact, what the disciples on the way to Emmaus did not realize was that the Lord was no more in the grave. He who was dead is now alive and well. The dream that was buried 30 years ago is suddenly being resurrected by the Lord. The destiny that was lying wasted 10 years ago is now being awakened by the Lord himself. Oh, they did not know that they were actually speaking with the very Lord of glory himself. Trials and pain have a way of transforming us that sometimes even our closest friends don’t recognize us any more when it is all over. When God is done with you, some folks who knew you years back may not recognize that it was you.

But meantime, we have to yield to the hand of the Father, and let him have his way fully. Jesus submitted fully to the Father’s will right from the garden of Gethsemane, to Golgotha, to the grave. It seemed as though the Enemy had prevailed, but not so. God had a plan. In submitting to the Father, even within those three horrible days and nights from the crucifixion to the resurrection, Jesus gave the Father full control to execute the entire plan. And boy, was the final outcome so sweet. Christ was “sown” as one Man, but now he has many sons to glory. He was “sown” in weakness, but now reigns in power for ever. He is Lord for ever.

The time in-between may be hard, but they are very important formative times. The times in-between are often lonely times, but they are seasons of unnoticed but required growth. Let this Saturday before Easer Sunday remind you again that no matter what you have gone through these past years, resurrection morning is on the way. You can “be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8: 28, Message).