In some religious circles, today is acknowledged as Holy Saturday. I suspect that in many religious environs like my own, not much is made of this day, with the focal points being on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The somberness of the events that took place on Good Friday and the euphoria of the resurrection on Easter Sunday are certainly why so much is made of these days. But in general, most of us probably don’t hear much noise on the Saturday in between these days. We just get ready for Easter Sunday. However, Scripture suggests to us that the Saturday sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter Sunday may not have been as uneventful for the disciples who walked with Jesus during His earthly sojourn.
The Common English Bible shows the emotional state of the disciples over the course of that weekend even as it portrays their joyous reunion with their Master on Easter Sunday evening. We are told: It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19 CEB). Of course, it’s wonderful news that the resurrected Christ has accorded them a visitation. But there’s a looming factor out in front of the visit that is telling of the faith status of the disciples. The Bible clearly indicates that they were locked away behind closed doors cowering in fear of the Jewish authorities hoping that their fate wouldn’t be the same as that of Jesus. These once bold disciples who had been empowered of Jesus via the Holy Spirit to heal sick people, work miracles, and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, were now in hiding arrested by their fears. Their promulgation of the Kingdom message, now gripped by paralyzing fear, has come to a grinding halt so soon after Jesus’ triumphant Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem. It seemed that the crisis of Good Friday had caused them to lose heart and even to have forgotten what Jesus had prophetically indicated would happen at that very hour. And, it is almost certain that those who had remembered what Jesus had said to them determined that the Lord was unable to deliver on His promise. The undoubted overriding question, I’m sure, in all of their minds was: “Where is Jesus?”
As we celebrate Easter Weekend 2020 amid a challenge that the vast majority of every living human being has never seen before, we too may wonder: “Where is Jesus?” I remind each of us that Jesus paid those disciples of old a visit to the location where they were sheltered in place and uttered the words “Peace be with you.” No how matter frantic, discouraging, and disconcerting this time of crises may have been and yet be for you, if you look and listen, you’ll both sense and see Jesus’ comforting presence and hear the tonalities of peace embedded in His voice. No, it’s not yet Easter, but He is here with us right now!
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates Sr.