Historically, Evangelical Protestants have placed an emphasis principally on the events of “Palm Sunday” and “Easter Sunday”, while Mainline Protestants have joined Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches in emphasizing the events of each of the other days throughout “Holy Week” as well.
As of late, however, many Evangelical churches have also begun embracing services and programs focusing on the other days of “Holy Week”, especially “Maundy Thursday” (when our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper) and “Good Friday” (when our Lord was crucified).
As an Evangelical, I grew up observing “Palm Sunday” (usually through “Cantatas”) and “Easter Sunday” (usually through “Easter Sunrise” services and breakfasts prior to “Easter Sunday” worship), but not the days in between. As such, I for one, am now glad to see this change.
If the Bible goes to great lengths to record the events of each of the various days of “Holy Week”, then surely these things must matter. And if they matter, then surely we should focus on and emphasize them accordingly.
Of course, the events of “Maundy Thursday” (the institution of the Lord’s Supper) and “Good Friday” (the crucifixion of our Lord) are commonly enough observed. But how exactly does one go about observing “Holy Saturday”? For that matter, how does one approach the events of this day? How does a follower of Christ relate to the significance of this particular day?
As today is “Holy Saturday”, I have spent much of it reflecting on this very matter. Here are my conclusions.
Let’s face it, that first “Holy Saturday” was not a good one! After all, Jesus was most decidedly dead, and in the grave! Most of His disciples had deserted Him; and the few remaining followers He had were huddled together in hiding, all but defeated by grief and despair and fear!
That was Holy Saturday in 33 A.D. Now fast forward to Holy Saturday in 2020 A.D. where little has changed. Think about it. On this day, people everywhere are still huddled together in their homes. Many literally live in fear of venturing forth into the world. Grief over the loss of a way of life once known and loved is rampant; as is despair over what the future may hold. It seems as if a death dealing virus has now won the day!
Yet, that first “Holy Saturday” was destined to give way to the first “Easter Sunday”! Death was destined to give way to life! Jesus, Who had been most decidedly dead, was destined to come forth from the grave most decidedly alive! And when He did, all of the the grief and despair and fear felt by His disciples was destined to give way to joy and hope and courage as a result!
As if that were not good enough news, here is even more. I am confident that the same will eventually hold true in 2020 A.D.!
Inevitably, this present time of death will give way to a time of life. When it does, our current grief over what all we have lost, and our despair over where we now are, and our fear over what the future holds for us will most assuredly give way to joy and hope and courage!
Why? Because tomorrow is “Easter Sunday”! And if “Easter Sunday” is about anything, it is about joy and hope and courage to face the world! Why? Because “Easter Sunday” reminds us that Jesus Christ meant every word of what He said in the New Testament Gospel of John (chapter 16, verse 33):
“I have told you everything that I have told you so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Thank God for “Easter Sunday”! It is proof positive that “Greater is He that is in us than the one (and the schemes of the one) that is in the world”! That is the promise of “Easter Sunday”! That is the promise of God! That is reason to be joyful and hopeful and not fearful! And that is indeed something to celebrate!