Yesterday was a nightmare, but today we woke up and it was reality. Yesterday, there was adrenaline and weeping and hope that it was not real. Today, there was only emptiness and mourning and hope that God would somehow take it back.
I have been told many times of the reason for Jesus’ three days in the grave from a cultural standpoint. According to Jewish tradition, the soul leaves the body after three days, indicating that Jesus truly was dead by the time He rose. Three days represents true death in culture.
I believe, however, that three days also represents true death in our hearts. Sleep, or a sleepless night, is a natural separation for the human mind. The day of a major event tends to feel like one blurry continuum, the adrenaline of the day tricks us into believing that we might be able to reverse the tide or that it might all be a bad dream. Going to sleep, leaving this world for the night, is an admission of acceptance, of defeat. For when we wake up, it becomes real.
The day to let the death of our savior sink in, to let it become reality, is essential for comprehension of the resurrection of our savior. His death was real. He was gone. Yesterday, the day of the Crucifixion, did not end with Jesus descending from the cross, alive after all, to wipe our tears. We went to sleep, we woke up, and He was still gone. We can only have faith that this tragedy will add to the Kingdom, even as it becomes apparent that this tragedy will not be reversed.1
With our faith placed in God, we have the opportunity to wallow in the stillness. On the original Holy Saturday, Christ’s followers were forced by the lack of excitement, by the coming of the Sabbath, to slow down and recognize the great loss of Jesus’ death. They were broken by the emptiness and experiencing deep heartbreak for their Teacher. Though they were suspended in a day of the “in between,” they must have felt condemned to a mournful conclusion as the sun set, and a full day passed without the return of Jesus Christ.
We now, in the same way, are suspended in an “in between” existence; the Lord has left the Earth and not yet returned. It can be rather tempting to anxiously await Jesus’ return and feel as if this seemingly uneventful time is a waste or a discouragement. Yet this time is actually essential to prepare us for the full weight of His return and His victory. In this waiting, we can instead learn to mourn for the world and appreciate the burden of sin the Lord has taken upon himself. We may look around and recognize the brokenness of today.
This Saturday, sit in mourning with me. Be attentive to the world around you, and let your heart break for the tragedies that comprise our reality. Today, there will be no reversing of the Crucifixion. Today, instead, there will be an appreciation of the emptiness that only Jesus Christ can fill.
Emma Kate Price is a sophomore in Leverett House studying Mechanical Engineering and Astrophysics
|While prophecy pointed to the resurrection of Christ, His followers had not connected the dots at the time of His death.