by Pastor Joe Pullen
Updated Easter Sunday: Praise God! The young man I mentioned in this devotional WOKE UP today and spoke with his Dad. It is truly a miraculous outcome after days of unresponsiveness. Thank you for praying for him!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 PETER 1:3, ESV
Yesterday I listened to Pastor Steven reflect on Good Friday, contemplating how the torturous death of Jesus could be called “good.” His disciples didn’t think it was good. For them, the crucifixion of Jesus evoked fear and panic. Peter denied being a disciple of Jesus. John was left holding a grieving mother. Judas had killed himself. All of them left Jesus and fled for fear of the people who put Jesus to death. That was their Good Friday.
Even after hearing Jesus tell them of His coming death and resurrection, the disciples were still in hiding. That’s where we find them on Saturday. Some religious traditions call it Holy Saturday, but I am prone to call it Questionable Saturday.
For the disciples of Jesus, Saturday was the space in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. It was the day between despair and joy, the day between defeat and triumph. It was the day before the miracle, the time when they were forced to wait and wonder. They’d been with Jesus daily for three years, but now were separated by His grave. They feared for their lives and questioned if the story of King Jesus had come to an abrupt, humiliating end.
Like the disciples, I can recount many times in my life when I’ve walked with Jesus, but then got to a place in my story where everything seemed to come off the rails. I recall them vividly — wrestling with my addiction, being unemployed for more than a year after I left the Army, and difficult seasons of work, marriage and parenting. In each case, my circumstances drew me to a place of despondency, wondering if God had left me and if hope could be trusted. Those Questionable Saturdays were the worst.
This past Thursday, the same day we celebrate Maundy Thursday commemorating the day Jesus had the Last Supper with His disciples, one of my best friends got a phone call that thrust his family into crisis. His son had fallen off a ladder at work, sustaining a severe injury that left him with a broken skull bone, bleeding on the brain, and brain trauma. He and his family are devout followers of Jesus but simultaneously find themselves waiting for a resurrection of sorts for their son to regain consciousness. As I write this, their son is still unresponsive and their hearts are broken. (Update: On Easter Sunday, he woke up after days of unconsciousness! Praise God!)
They’ve given me permission to share their story and I ask you to pray diligently for them. Like the disciples did then, they are currently facing their fears, uncertainty, and grief while waiting for answers only God can provide. At the same time, they fully believe in God’s ability to heal their son and rescue them from their pain. Just like the disciples, they’ve been eye-witnesses to many miracles that Christ has done for them, but they don’t know for sure what will happen or when it will transpire. Today is their Questionable Saturday.
What’s yours? Maybe you’re estranged from a spouse or child and longing for the relationship to be saved, between jobs, or wondering if Jesus will ever help you get victory in a particular battle in your life. Maybe you’re questioning your purpose or asking if you’ll ever get married. Or like the disciples, you may be consumed by fear and anxiety. Whatever the case, there’s hope for you on your Questionable Saturdays.
Outside Jesus’ grave, the work of Jesus seemed for naught. But inside the grave, Jesus rested from the finished work on the cross. Outside the grave, the promises seemed broken, but inside the grave the broken were healed. Outside the grave, the disciples were breaking down, but inside the grave, victory was on the cusp of breaking out. These darkest moments of life magnify the glory of the resurrection when it comes for you.
May I encourage all of us to persevere? For the disciples on Questionable Saturday, all seemed lost. Unbeknownst to them, God was working behind the scenes in their lives and in less than 24 hours their crucified Savior would become their resurrected King. On our difficult days, let’s all remember that in the places we cannot see, our resurrected King is working on our behalf, and in time, all our cares and concerns will be fulfilled in the kept promises of Jesus.
Until then . . .
May the God of hope fill you with all joy in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
ROMANS 15:13, ESV