We all know the Easter story. Jesus died on the cross and rose again on Sunday. If you are a christian, it should be a big deal, but for most of us, it is not. To be honest, the first thing that comes to my mind are cadbury eggs and reeces peanut butter eggs. Seriously, y’all – I could eat those things all day long on Sunday until I’m puking. Thankfully, I have a wife who would smack me upside the head if I tried.
If you have a minute, I wanted to dig in a bit to the lesser remembered day of Easter weekend: Saturday. First, let’s recall what happened as told by the Bible. As Jesus was sent to hang on the cross, he had LOADS of people spitting at him, cursing at him, making fun of him, etc. They even cast lots for his garments. Did you know?: This specific act was actually documented as having been prophesied about hundreds of years prior in Psalm 22!
Through all that, he willingly was nailed to a cross – the most humiliating, tortuous, slow death that could happen. Surely you’ve heard many times all of the pain, suffering Jesus endured. It was horrible, and it was done for us, because God loves us that much. It is the most amazing love story known to man.
But what about Saturday?
As I write this, the day before Easter, I can’t help but think about what His followers were going through. They willingly gave up their lives to follow this man who claimed he was God. A man that they saw perform miracles with their own two eyes. This same man, whom they saw hang on a cross for hours in excruciating pain, until He gave up his spirit. Check out what happens after this happened, as documented in Matthew 27:
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[c] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
This clearly made some people rethink which side they were on …
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Translation: “Oh crap, we got this one wrong BIG TIME!”
So, back to my musings on Saturday …
Imagine you are a follower of Jesus back then, the day after He died. You have sacrificed EVERYTHING to follow Him. All of your eggs (Easter and otherwise) in one basket. How do you feel? Ashamed? Depressed? Abandoned? Perhaps your friends, enemies and family all join together to take pot shots at you and ridicule you for getting it wrong. I wonder how many were suicidal after this.
It must have been a tremendously difficult time for followers of Jesus that Saturday. Why? Because when you have a relationship with Jesus, it isn’t just a checkbox you mark off in the religion question in your life. Jesus is your life. Christianity is not a country club membership; it is a complete lifestyle change. It is saying that Jesus is my plan A, and I have no other plan B.
We know how the rest of the story goes, right? Some women go to the tomb, only to find Jesus isn’t there, and Jesus later appears to MANY people as alive. I can’t help but wonder what Jesus’ mother was going through. Her son was slaughtered, and she was probably met with inconsolable grief and sorrow. Then, she finds out her son is alive again! That just might be the most amazing feeling that anyone has ever felt here on earth before.
The story really is an amazing one, and for those of you who don’t yet know Jesus (meaning, you have not entered a personal relationship with Him) and want to, please reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to introduce you to Him! For those of you who already know Jesus, please use what happened on Easter 2,000 years ago as a conversation starter so others can know about Him. Our life is not our own, and while the Easter candy is sweet, the story of Jesus is much, much sweeter.