!Day 40 – Holy Saturday
“ Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”
It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God, who will not abide with sin, pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.
(An excerpt from Baptist pastor S. M. Lockridge’s sermon “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming!”)
What do we do today on Holy Saturday?
It is a strange day. Jesus has died on the cross and paid for the sins of all humanity but he is not yet raised. Jesus has drunk fully of the cup of God’s wrath, yet he is not yet restored. Jesus had finished the work of the Father (“tetelestai”) yet he is not yet vindicated. He lies in the tomb still.
There is a divine period of waiting for God’s salvation that is ordained for Jesus. It is like a pause (or “Selah” in the Psalms) that is set for silence and stillness to complete the journey of trust in the Lord. Yet it is also a powerful anticipation for the what is to come – like the calm before the storm.
We frequently encounter such periods of waiting in our lives. God has promised his protection, provision and deliverance, and we know that He is faithful, but where are the results? There is often a gap between promise and fulfilment.
Holy Saturday teaches us the precious importance and truth of pausing, or of calming and stilling our souls like a weaned child with its mother (Psalm 131:2) while looking forward with hope to God alone. It tells us that God is faithful and worthy of our leaning on Him, even if our deliverance tarries for a while. His salvation will come speedily!
And the cultivation of this hope is crucial for us because it purifies our faith. It delivers us from the temptation and myth of relying on other helps or supports for our redemption, which can kill our faith. Through waiting our faith is strengthened and cleansed. “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure,” writes the Apostle John (1 John 3:3).
So beloved, at the end of our 40-day journey of Lenten meditations, let us continue to trust fully in God with hearts filled with hope. God will soon bring our souls out of the prison of our troubles into his bountiful blessings. It’s Friday… but Sunday’s coming!
Revd Ian 🙏