Good Friday and Easter are the focal days that we Christians celebrate each year. Good Friday is the remembrance of what Jesus did for us on the cross and His brutal, unthinkable crucifixion. Easter celebrates (spoiler alert!) His Resurrection and hope for all of us who believe to have eternal life. This Easter season, I've been doing a Lent study through Sacred Holidays, focusing on the final days of Jesus. This is the first time I've done a specific study during Lent and it has been amazing. I've read the various accounts of Scripture in a new and fresh way, and although I've heard the resurrection story my whole life, it continues to present itself anew.
What we don't always focus on is the day in between Good Friday and Easter. Jesus is dead. In the tomb. Hopeless. We scurry about filling Easter baskets, hiding Easter eggs, and choosing our Easter outfits on that day now. But this day 2000 years ago wasn't as joyful. You see, the end of the story hadn't happened. We can celebrate this day in between because we know Easter is coming. But I've reflected today on the people present on the first day in between and what they could have been thinking.
The disciples. "It's over. All that Jesus talked about, what does it mean now? We didn't always understand what He was telling us, but now, He's dead. What do we make of this? Maybe we followed a Man who wasn't telling us the truth. Could He not have been the Messiah? We followed Him for three years, gave up our livelihoods. Now what?"
The Pharisees. "We won. Thank goodness that distraction is dead and buried in the tomb. I don't know who He thought He was to have tried to challenge what we know to have been true forever. A new covenant? What's wrong with the old one? At least our teachings and leadership can go on now without that pesky Jesus trying to persuade our followers of His unbelievable message."
Pilate. "What have I done? I allowed a persuaded crowd to encourage me to let a criminal go and crucify an innocent man. I've made a lot of decisions and many I regret. But this one. This one seems more dire than any of the past decisions I questioned. It's over now. Nothing I can do about it. Time to move on with my life."
Mary, Mother of Jesus. "This can't be real. I know what the angel told me when I conceived Him. I know His purpose in coming was to die. But this way? I'll never get over seeing my baby on that cross. Suffering for me. How is this all going to work out? I know what the prophets said. I know what Jesus said during His short 33 years here on earth. But did I believe a lie? No. Surely not. I love my Son. He was the Son of God. My tears may never end, but I simply can't lose hope."
These people lived between hopelessness and hopefulness. There was a time - the day in between - when Jesus was dead. The emotions, the questions were surely endless. I can't even fathom dealing with that mourning and grief, not knowing how God was going to respond the next day. But we know the end of the story. Resurrection is coming. Hope is on its way. Mourning is turned into joy. And we don't have to grieve as those did at the cross because we know Jesus is alive.
I live each day with the hope of eternal life as my security. Do you? If not, you are living in an endless "day in between" without hope, only the end. By choosing to follow Christ, and turning from your sinful lifestyle, you can have this hope too. If you don't know how to do that, contact me. I want you to live life everyday like it's Resurrection Day.