I’ve often thought about what might have been happening on what I call Dark Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter. Where were the disciples, and other followers of Jesus? What was going through their minds? Were they fearful or hopeful? Did the teachings of Jesus begin to rapidly fade in their hearts? Was their faith strong enough to see them through two nights of pain and uncertainty?
The Scriptures don’t tell us much at all about that Saturday. We see in John, that when Jesus appeared to the disciples they were all gathered in a house together; On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. (John 20:19a NIV) This passage mentions that the doors were locked out of fear. So you might conclude, they had been hiding there since Friday evening.
Scripture also tells us that it was passover; You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified. (Matthew 26:2 NKJV) We know there were a lot of people in Jerusalem to observe the Passover so perhaps, families were still visiting and celebrating being together, while remembering how God had delivered them out of Pharaoh’s hand and the land of Egypt.
We also know from Scripture, that some of the disciples had gone back to the trade of fishing following the crucifixion of Christ. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately[ got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3 NKJV) Maybe they thought it was all over. So, they returned to the trade they knew before Christ came on the scene.
There are other examples of life returning to normal following Christ’s crucifixion; the Emmaus Road, Mary Magdalene in the garden. But as they would soon find out, life would become anything but normal.
But what about Saturday? Was Saturday a test of faith, or a taste of defeat for the disciples and followers of Jesus? Would you and I have been hiding along with the disciples? I believe this was the greatest test of their faith they had ever faced, or ever did face. Jesus had spent three years investing in this band of disciples. Yet, in the sudden absence of their teacher, mentor and friend, they were lost. The darkness of the events from the past 24 hours was pressing in on them and sure, they were afraid.
Even though they had walked with Jesus, and heard him tell them exactly what would happen, they still had doubts. After all, they were human, and more vulnerable in that moment than perhaps they had ever been, or ever would be again.
But what about you and me? We have the whole of Scripture laid out before us. We have the perspective of “the rest of the story” and yet, how easy is our faith shaken in the midst of tragedy or fear. How quickly we forget the words of the Savior when we can’t see or touch, or sense His presence. We can learn a great lesson from Dark Saturday. I believe it’s the lesson of faith in the face of darkness and hopelessness. I believe it’s learning to trust Jesus’ Word when everything screams at us not to.
Don’t forget that sandwiched in between Good Friday and Easter, is a chance for us to reflect and learn and hopefully, along with the disciples, not forget our faith in the One who is faithful.