The In Between
Saturday, April 3, 2021
Jenny Curtiss, Women’s Pastor
57As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
62The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 674So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
This week has been a rollercoaster of emotions. We have read about the highest of the highs when Jesus entered Jerusalem being hailed as a King. We have gone through the lowest of lows, watching a friend’s betrayal and the death of our Savior. The world feels like it came crashing down. Now there is silence.
Welcome to Silent Saturday. When we think of the events of Easter week, we seem to make this large leap from Good Friday to Sunday and skip Saturday altogether. But the message of Saturday is so important and empowering to our faith journey.
Put yourself in the sandals of the disciples and people who traveled with Jesus and loved Him. They have been through so much together. This past week, they were ready to celebrate the biggest victory of their lives. They may have woken up on Saturday thinking it was just a bad dream, then reality hit them. Their hope is shattered and their dream has died. Can you imagine the depth of their sorrow as they prepared His body for burial?
Think of times in your lives when you have felt this way. The day following a bout of bad news, a loss in the family, a tragedy, or a heartbreak. You find yourself sitting in silence wondering, “Is God here? Does He care?”. You are in a space between despair and hope. Have you been there? I have.
On that Saturday, when all seemed lost, God had the best surprise planned for Sunday. I wonder if God was giddy with anticipation of what he knew was coming but heartbroken at seeing the grief on the faces of those he loved. The disciples seemed to have forgotten the promises made in Matthew (17:21-27) where Jesus predicted his death and resurrection.
As we read today’s passage, we see that the Pharisees remembered the resurrection prediction, were concerned and wanted to prevent it from potentially happening.
It seems that it is easier to experience painful times when we know what the outcome will be. God is reminding us, there is hope. God’s big plan that was about to unfold would bring THE living hope that would change the world.
So, when you find yourself sitting in the space between despair and hope, remember, God is there holding your hand, whispering, “I have a plan.”
In the silence and the waiting, God is there. In His perfect timing, God always has a plan which is far better than anything we can come up with. The message of Silent Saturday is to always hold on to hope.
Father, in days of silence, help us to turn towards you. When we experience the days between darkness and light, help us to feel your presence. Help us to wait patiently with prayerful hearts, even if we don’t hear you or sense you. Let us hold tightly to your promises, even in our feelings of hopelessness. Help us to trust in your plan and your perfect timing even when it does not align with ours. We pray this in your Holy Name, Amen.
- Is there a time when you have felt that God was silent or absent?
- Looking back, what did God teach you in that moment?
- What did you learn about God’s character in the waiting?
Needed Supplies: plastic or paper cup, rock, toilet paper, small lego person. Optional: paint, paintbrush
Explain to your child(ren) that today you’ll be learning about Jesus’ burial. First, cut a hole out of the top of a plastic or paper cup to create a doorway into the tomb. If desired, have your kid(s) paint the cup to look more like a cave.
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
- Joseph was a Jewish leader. The Bible also tells us that he was a disciple of Jesus. Joseph made sure that Jesus had an honorable burial. At that time in Israel, the people used caves to bury dead bodies.
- Joseph got his hands dirty by going before Pilate, the leader at the time, and asked if he could bury Jesus. Joseph gave Jesus his own tomb for him to be buried in. He wrapped Jesus’ body in cloth. It was getting late in the day on Friday and Joseph was running out of time to prepare Jesus to be buried before the Sabbath. Joseph left Jesus in his tomb until Sunday morning when they had planned to finish the burial process.
Have your child(ren) prepare Jesus’ body for burial. Take the small lego person and wrap it in toilet paper, just like Joseph wrapped Jesus in linen cloth. Place the lego person in the “tomb” (cup) and seal the entrance with a rock.
Leave this visual in a prominent place in your home, such as the kitchen table. Prior to your child(ren) getting up on Easter morning, remove “Jesus” and leave the “cloth” (toilet paper) in the tomb. Have “Jesus” standing outside the tomb.
- Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. When we believe in him and all that he did, we become friends with God. Once you start a relationship with God, the Bible tells us our salvation is known by our works (James 2:17). Joseph was showing his faith in his actions by burying Jesus.
- How can you get your “hands dirty” for Jesus and serve others today?
Jesus, thank you for your example. Show us how we can serve others and show them your love. May people see you through our actions. Amen.
Jenny – such beautiful words! Thank you for reminding us that even in the darkness, there is always light. It brings joyful tears to my eyes to remember this.