“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Matthew 16:21 NKJV).
“Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful” (Matthew 17:22-23 NKJV).
“Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again” (Matthew 20:17-19 NKJV).
He warned them of what would come, but they had set their eyes on a different future, one with Him as their King. In fact, one mom with high hopes for her boys asked Jesus if He would allow them to sit, one at the right hand and the other at the left hand when He came into His kingdom (Matthew 20:21-22). A good mom makes plans for her children, right? Every year when Good Friday approaches I wonder what held their thoughts as they watched their Friend hang from a cross; with His death their hopes, desires and expectations would also die. When Jesus warned them of His death, He had also informed them of what Sunday would bring; had they forgotten?
In Matthew 17 we are told the disciples became “exceedingly sorrowful” when they heard Jesus explain what would happen. How often do we hear a story and become sorrowful for what might lie ahead for the person suffering? Depending on the closeness of the relationship, we may become exceedingly sorrowful for them. But everything changed when the disciples experienced first hand, the death of Jesus as they stood in disbelief over what was happening. The same is true for us today, we hear and we are sorrowful. We experience and wonder in disbelief how can this be happening to us? It would seem that we all, at one point or another, must endure the silence of a Saturday—that day which follows the event that shocks us— leaving us feeling helpless, hopeless and wondering why, but comes before the day our hope is once again restored. We work to put our plans into place and trust life to move forward as we expect, but there are those nasty bumps that leave us shaken. The bad news comes, the weeping begins, and the pain follows as we wait out the silence of Saturday.
We encountered a Silent Saturday recently when our 16-month-old granddaughter, Emery, faced some health concerns. After several months of fevers, blood tests determined extremely low white blood cell counts. The day preceding our Silent Saturday was discovering an appointment had been scheduled with a Hematologist at the Children’s Cancer Center in Syracuse. This information caused me to do what many of us do— I became an Internet Doctor— which led to my opening many doors of information; leading me down several halls of possibilities. In my pursuit of answers I made my own unprofessional diagnosis, came to my own conclusions (none of which were very good) and then allowed fear of the unknown to cast a dark shadow over my mind. Many times I have heard and felt sorrow for those with sick children and I lift them up in prayer; but this was different, I was now experiencing the pain of watching our granddaughter’s suffering. It truly was a fierce battle to remain faith-filled and not become fearful. I rehearsed Psalm 112:7 over and over, “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (NIV) and felt guilty when I failed and feared bad news. Several times I found myself thinking of Jesus’ conversation with the father who asked for healing for his son; Jesus said to him, “‘if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief’”(Mark 9:23-24 NKJV). And I cried over my selfishness and lack of faith.
Every time Jesus talked of His death, He promised the resurrection. He wanted us to know that following the pain of Good Friday and the silence of the Saturday there would come resurrection Sunday. While it may seem right to turn from the cross, walk away in defeat and give despair total control, we must be mindful of the fact that while we may not see it right away with our natural eyes, Jesus works on Saturdays. When we are in the midst of a Silent Saturday and our eyes become fixed on fear of the unknown, or all seems hopeless, and it appears change may never come, we must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus is up to something. He is fighting right along with us in the battle. It is our job to hold fast to Hope in the midst of the silence, waiting for Him to breathe life back into what appears dead.
The silence was broken when Emery was diagnosed with a rare genetic blood disorder called Cyclic Neutropenia; so rare, in fact, only one in a million suffer from it. Yet, this is what the hope of Good Friday gave to her…
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed(Isaiah 53: 4-5 NLT).
I don’t know what situation or circumstance you are in the midst of that feels like a Silent Saturday—but God does. I encourage you to latch on to the promises God has given because Jesus walked through Friday, worked on Saturday and lived again on Sunday.