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Thoughts on Holy Saturday

A week of great significance for Christians. A memorial of the fulfillment of the God man’s mission. The LORD told Moses that the Passover was to be a “day of remembrance” of the Hebrews’ rescue from slavery in Egypt (Ex. 12:14). A remembrance, or memorial, was more than just a reflection, more than just remembering. To participate in a memorial was to participate in the event that was commemorated; to actually be there. So on the memorial of Holy Week we participate in the events that occurred in the last days of Jesus’ life on Earth.

The instance of the redemption of the world. On Good Friday Jesus suffered on the cross. The physical suffering was intense but we should not focus on that. Crucifixion was one of the most brutal punishments ever devised by man but Jesus’ physical agony was minor compared to what most who were condemned suffered in crucifixion. The greater agony was the separation from the Godhead. Throughout eternity the λόγος had lived in perfect shalom with the Father and the Spirit. Now he had to experience the wrath of God; that wrath that is not represented in fury but by God turning away, disappointed by man’s stubborn rebellion, shaking his head. “All right then,” he says, “have it your way.”

I have lived that agony. I have turned my back on God and devoted myself to idols: drugs, booze, sex, success, esteem. Each of these has brought me to the cross, hanging in agony, crying “Why have you forsaken me?” But I suffered for my own willfulness, not for my redemption. This is what it means to be really dead. Lost in self-consuming, unappeasable hunger. Completely separated from love.

And then, on Saturday, dead in the ground. Beyond human aid. Lazarus in the tomb. The years of living a loveless life. The tomb covered over. How can a dead man ask for help?


When Jesus broke through the barrier of the tomb on that Easter morning the stone that covered mine was blasted. I stumbled forward, wrapped in burial garb, brought once again to life. But this time not to my life. To the life of the God man. To new life. I was reborn.

Sometime between when we go to bed tonight and we awake in the morning death will once again be overcome. When I rise in the morning I will rise to new life in Christ. Not the old life of self-consuming frustration but the new one of self-sacrificing love. This is how everyone will know you are mine Jesus says: if you love as I love. Think about it.

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