Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday: A Day of Mourning

Why is this night different from all others? It has been a long one. She attempts to sleep, but when she closes her eyes, the horror of the day's events saturate her thoughts. She rises, eyes tired and swollen; she has cried for what seems an eternity. She slept but a couple of hours, the events of that dark Friday replaying in her mind, chased away any sleep that may have come. His body, shredded by the Roman whip, the thorns pressed in His brow. She stood and watched as they pierced His hands and precious feet…she was at His feet when they speared His side; the fountain spraying blood and water lingers on her clothing. She was far too exhausted when she made her way to bed.
photo: Piper Green 2014

She cannot get the vision of His mutilated body from her mind; the bruises, the torn flesh. What troubles her most, more than anything—is the incessant hatred the Sanhedrin had for Jesus. How could they scream out and demand His death, and let that murderer go free? He threatened their positions, He challenged their legalism, shattered their paradigms—to no avail. They were determined to have Him killed. They are all in their homes, celebrating the Sabbath and Passover, worshiping the God who sent this beautiful life to them, though they knew Him not.

How could they hate one that displayed so much love to others? He healed so many, delivered so many. The Love of God was displayed in this man Jesus of Nazareth. He healed all that were oppressed of the devil—seven possessed her, yet one word from Jesus, they fled never to return. How can they hate such a man? How could Judas have betrayed Him this way? Silver bought His soul—How? Why? What caused Judas to turn His back on Jesus? So many question; no answers.

Her life was not the same from the day she was delivered from her bondage. She followed Him everywhere. He was her lifeline; her heart forever tied to His. She knew she could not live without Him. She buries her face in her dirt and blood stained hands, washed only by her tears. How did it come to this? What am I to do now?

She does not have the hope we have on this side of the cross. We remember Friday with the resurrection on Sunday already in our hearts, knowing the end of the story before picking up the scripted page. Not for her. All her hope has dissolved; everything she thought He would become and do for Israel—all has been shattered. She knew He was the Christ. Her mind echoes His warning to the twelve that He would die. Her despair has hidden that He also promised He would rise again. The traumatic events have seemed to erase it from her mind.

“Through a few hours of worship and many ordinary life, they relive annually the growing tensions of the climatic week; the grieving farewells, shameful betrayal, guilty denial, and agonizing fear of the night before the end; the long, dark, deadly day of pain and forsakenness itself; an ecstatic daybreak of miracle and color, song and newborn life; and in between one eerie, restless day of burial and waiting…perhaps for nothing: a day which forces us to speak of hell and to conceive how it might be that God’s own Son, and therefore God’s own self, lay dead and cold within a sepulcher.”[1]

A long day will follow the night she has endured. She longs to go and to anoint His body. Her need to attend to His is stronger than ever. It is the Sabbath, she cannot buy spices today—there will be no Sabbath rest for her. Her body aches. She followed John and Mary, Jesus’ mother, from His arrest to the place He would die. They tried to stay as near as they could to Him; they too beaten and shoved by the crowd; mixed with those who hated Him and those that mourned for Him. The crowds always pressed Him. Today will not be different. The long path through the city to Golgotha has stripped her of her strength. Today, no strength will be replenished as her very heart has been ripped out and trampled underfoot. She feels so helpless; hopeless. All her hopes dashed to pieces. She feels lost. She is not yet aware that tomorrow is the dawning of a new day, and those that sow in tears will reap in joy…..

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning {Psalm 30:5 NASB}.


I stand here and look up to a cross on a hill
All of creation was in chaos yet I was still
Amazed at the way you were beaten and torn
How could they hate you and show you only scorn?

Do they know that you did this out of such love?
Do they know you were sent here from above?
Yet it must be done so that all is as you have said
O Lord, your torn body and the thorns in your head!

Lord I helped drive those nails through your hands
Because we all turned away and sinned every man
You were led away as a lamb to the slaughter
Yet you did it to redeem every son and daughter

O Lord I pray let not your death be in vain
Or that I take for granted your suffering and pain
May I be faithful to you up until death
May I never deny you till I take my last breath

© 2004. Revised 2017 Piper Green. All rights reserved.

[1]Lewis, Alan E., Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001), 4-5.

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