Happy Easter! Jesus is risen!
Today I want to share with you some reflections about the day between when Christ was crucified and the day He rose to life. These thoughts come from my friend, Todd Hansen, who is a deacon and frequent volunteer at our church, and the owner of Fresh Start Builders. In these reflections he shares from the wisdom of his experience and age as a follower of Jesus. Todd wrote and shared these words with me on Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.
Thinking about this day, this morning. The Scriptures go into a lot of detail as they describe the events of this past week, including some of Jesus’ most significant words as he moves toward his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. But almost nothing is said about the day between his death and his resurrection.
Matthew describes the Pharisees asking Pilate that a guard be posted at the tomb so “that deceiver” can’t be taken away by his disciples (Matthew 27:62-66). Peter suggests that Jesus visited “the spirits in prison” at this time (1 Peter 3: 18-20)—many taking that to mean that Jesus was in Hades, proclaiming the gospel, prior to his resurrection.
But that’s really about all the Word has to say about this day. Isn’t that interesting? Our Savior and our faith and traditions teach us that every “jot and tittle”—every word, part of a word, and punctuation mark that appears in the bible is significant (Matthew 5:18) and will be fulfilled. Everything the Word says has meaning. And by implication, whatever the Word does not say has meaning too. So when God gives us almost nothing to ponder in regard to Holy Saturday, there is much to ponder as a result.
So, this morning, I’m thinking about anticipation.
Despite the increasing infirmities, decreasing strength, sagging skin and hearing loss, there is great glory in growing old. As God permits the addition of years, he’s allowing me to have a growing history of the experience of his faithfulness—not just in my own life, but in the lives of those (you!) with whom I interact. I think that the foundation of our faith “cures” like concrete as we age, becoming stronger and more resistant to erosion and rot the longer it sets-up. In part, this is because it becomes more and more an integral part of our character and way of looking at the world(s) around us. In part, because we can look back across the sea of years and recognize that God, whatever we might have thought at the time we experienced a trial, has never not been faithful.
The other great thing about aging is that each minute becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of the total time we experience. Every minute is valuable and significant, yes, but, as a child I was desperate for every single added minute of being awake or having fun. Now, I’m amused when my grandkids are being put to bed and in a state of panic because they have to leave a toy unplayed-with or a TV show unwatched. As an old guy, I know that whatever I’m looking forward to will be coming along quite soon—it always has—and I’m not merely content to wait for it, I love that I can enjoy the waiting as I think about it, turn it over in my head, anticipate what will soon unfold.
Maybe that’s what God intends this day to be for each of us. We have walked through the last week of Jesus’ life with him in his Word, and we know what’s coming—it always has—Resurrection Sunday is the most glorious day in our spiritual lives. Today, though, we wait, enjoying the waiting, the contemplation, the delicious anticipation of tomorrow. We weave the divine distress of last night together with the explosive joy of tomorrow morning—this is the intersection of tragedy and triumph. This is a day of renewing our strength as we wait on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). This day, like all others, is a gift from the hand of God.
What’s ahead of you on your road? Do you anticipate life, joy, celebration, laughter, fellowship? Or, do you anticipate struggle? Conflict? Worry? Hurt? Pain?
Of course, in this life we experience a mixture of all of these. We laugh and we cry. We have the joy of fellowship as well as the struggle of conflict. We know both the peace of rest and the pain of suffering.
What about after this life? This life is temporary. Now that I’m in the “second half” of mine, the reality of its end becomes more and more palpable. This temporary phase will one day yield to an unending eternity. I know that my eternity will be filled entirely with life, joy, celebration, laughter, and fellowship. And I anticipate that with great excitement because there will be no more struggle, conflict, worry, hurt, or pain.
What do you anticipate?
(To learn more about a joyful eternity go to NeedHim.org.)
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.
Photo by David Hall. Available at Other Rolling Stone Tombs – Israel. Retrieved April 16, 2017. Image modified for size and space.