Saturday must have been a long and dark day. Not only did they hide in fear of their lives, but even worse, they grieved deeply. Jesus was gone. His disciples had watched the soldiers carry him off to his execution the day before. Now it was Saturday, their master was dead and the grief cut deeply, leaving them utterly hollow.
They had not signed up for this. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah. He was supposed to lead them to victory over their oppressors. He was supposed to establish Israel as a strong nation once again and allow them to bask in the joy of sweet justice. Pain, grief, and sorrow were not part of the package.
But we forget that the way of Jesus is a way of pain, grief, and sorrow. Jesus suffered much in his life – even before his arrest and execution. As a child he knew what it meant to be hidden in Egypt in fear for his life. He knew the loss of his stepfather, Joseph. He wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus. He grieved over the blindness of the citizens of Israel. He agonized to the point of blood in the garden of Gethsemane. He screamed out in the words of his ancestor, David, as he hung on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”
That is the way of Jesus – the way of God’s love and grace. God purifies us with pain. The disciples learned this and went on to write to the churches about it. James said to consider it pure joy when we suffer various trials, because in the end it makes us complete and strong. Peter told us that suffering refines our hearts like fire refines gold. Then Paul, as he described the painful process of working through persecution and breaking down the walls of prejudice, reached the climax of the whole process with one word – hope.
Saturday will soon be over. On Sunday the disciples would come came face to face with a reality that is deeper than grief. They would meet hope. Jesus plowed through pain and grief and came out the other side alive once more. Saturdays will come. Of that you can be sure. They will come and they will be painful. They may last a day; they may last twenty months. When they come, remember this – without Saturday we don’t get to Sunday. The love of Jesus is our hope for today and forever. We will grieve, but we can grieve with hope.
-Steve Thomason as excerpted from Mosaic Bible commentary