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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sinking Saturday

I awoke this morning thinking about the disciples and how they must have felt on that Saturday before the resurrection.  Remember how Peter rebuked his Lord when Jesus foretold his death and resurrection? It was unthinkable for the disciples to imagine the end of the ministry of that One to whom they had committed their lives as the long awaited Messiah.  They must have often read or heard the scriptures which prophesied the glorious reign of Messiah, and that the glory would last forever.

Remember how the disciples spoke to the, as yet unrecognized, resurrected Savior.  They told this "stranger" on the road to Emmaus that this Jesus was the one whom they were hoping was the one to redeem Israel.  The communication implied that their hopes had been dashed by the crucifixion, and they were trying to make sense out of these things.  This betrays their frame of mind between the crucifixion and the resurrection.  They were not stuck in unbelief, but they were certainly in confusion of mind.  Their high hopes had seemed dashed to the ground.  Certainly it was sinking Saturday for them.

Remember how Luke records that the women disciples had visited the tomb to find it empty and hear the angel proclaim, "He is not here, but He has risen."  When they reported to the rest of the disciples, Luke also records: "And these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them."  This also reveals a mindset that must have included dismay, confusion, depression and justification for my title of "Sinking Saturday".

Everyone knows that people who are dead for three days do not come alive again!  Unbelievers today see the message of the resurrection as nonsense just as did the disciples, and why not?  We know that brain cells begin to die a very short time after the blood stops flowing.  Even though there are sensational stories of people who came back from apparent death, none of them leaves an interval of three days.  That's just nonsense.

Whoa, hold on just a minute.  Let's remember that we are talking about something that God has done to send us a message.  It's the same God who called matter into existence by the power of His word.  Are we actually going to say that this God could not do such a thing?  It is the very fact that resurrection is "impossible" that it makes the perfect kind of event to tell us that Jesus is really the Son of God, and that our sins are actually left at the cross.  Someone has said that we do not believe in Christ because of the resurrection.  We believe in the resurrection because we believe in Christ.  Only He could lay down His life and take it up again, because He had the word from His Father in heaven.

I suppose someone somewhere who is a true enemy of the gospel can claim this story to be a grand conspiracy of the church.  But no honest investigator can pretend that the explanation of the resurrection is the "swoon theory" or that the gospel writers intend for us to understand a "spiritual resurrection" that doesn't fly in the face of modern science.  No, it is the very fact that it does contradict universal human experience that God made it happen this way.  There is no doubt that Saturday was a downer for the disciples, but it made resurrection day just that much more glorious.

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