A Time of Fear and Doubt for the Disciples
It’s very interesting to look at the Easter traditions. We have Maundy Thursday, celebrating the Last Supper. Then we have Good Friday, which if you were Christ 2000 years ago, was not so good. And of course, there is Easter Sunday. But no one has a name for Saturday that I know of. I could be wrong.
This past year, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about faith and the development of faith. I’ve been studying I & II Samuel in the Bible, and I’ve really been paying attention to King David’s faith through trials. So this Saturday, I’m pausing to think about the disciples and what they must have been going through the day after their master—the guy they thought was the Messiah—had died.
My thoughts wander to Peter. When Jesus met Peter, called Simeon, He changed his name to Peter, saying “upon this rock I will build my church.” (Take a guess as to what the root word for Peter means….) And Peter, the Rock, the guy who walked on water, and the first disciple to profess Jesus as the Messiah, totally denied that he even knew Jesus just before Jesus died. The Rock had crumbled. How was Peter feeling on Saturday? What was Peter feeling? Was he feeling guilt that he had denied Christ, or was he feeling a horrible, sinking feeling that the man he once believed was God’s Son was really nothing more than a mere mortal fooling the world with magic tricks. Did he remember that this same man who hung helpless on a cross once walked on water?
I also think about John. John was the only disciple who didn’t run away. He watched Jesus’ trials, followed Him to the crucifixion site, and watched His execution. John showed no fear of the Roman guards or of the Pharisees. He stayed, and he watched Jesus take his final breath, saying, “It is finished.” (I really believe that God rewarded John for his bravery by letting him die a natural death instead of the executions that the rest of the disciples went through, but that’s another story.) My real question is: what was John thinking on Saturday after the crucifixion? Did he question the years he spent following Jesus? Did he wonder why he risked his life to watch Jesus die? Did he understand that when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant something so much more? Did he wonder why Jesus used an accounting term that meant, “Paid in full”?
I think Saturday for the disciples, was a day of despair—a day of hopelessness and questioning whether or not God himself even existed. It was a day of darkness. I guess that’s why it doesn’t have a name. Dark Saturday or Sucky Saturday just doesn’t have a ring to it. It’s so interesting to think about because the disciples had no idea what was about to happen. They had no idea what God was planning. They only knew that their Messiah, their Jesus, was dead—along with the promises they had chosen to believe.
It’s so easy for me to dwell in the darkness. So often, I forget that I can’t see everything God is doing. I don’t know His plan. I get scared, forgetting that God is God. I don’t know what many of you are going through right now. Some of you probably have problems that I can’t even imagine. I do know this. God has a plan for your life. He has a reason for making you, and He has given your life a purpose. Sometimes, life might not make sense, just as it didn’t make sense for the disciples on Saturday, but that’s because we can’t see God’s entire plan. And I know His plan is good.