This edition of the Holy Week Series isn’t all that old, but it’s not new either. If you don’t read anything else in this series, read this one.This is serious. This is going to change things for me.
Originally posted on March 9th, 2011.
I've been thinking about this idea for a long time. Almost a year to be exact.
Easter is coming up next month this weekend and since it is the single most important date in human history, I think it should carry with it a little more weight. Obviously, it does carry a certain amount of weight, but not nearly enough - at least not for me. It's huge. It's everything. Christmas only matters because of Easter. We only consider Jesus as God now because of what happened on Easter Sunday. If he had stayed dead, he would have faded into history as a simple prophet.
So here's what I've been thinking about:
On Good Friday, Jesus was executed. On Easter Sunday, he rose from the dead and returned to walk the Earth again - but we have no name for Saturday.
A common mistake people often make is assuming that Jesus died and rose three days later, or that he was dead for three full days. This is not the case. Jesus rose on the third day. He was killed on Friday afternoon around dusk, and rose again around dawn on Sunday. He was only dead for something like 36 hours - about a day and a half. The point I am making is that Saturday is the only day in human history where the ...Jesus“ part of God was dead all day. This gets into some pretty technical supernatural territory, but one way or another, Jesus allowed himself to be killed by humans, in order to take on the transgressions of all of mankind and pay the price for them, and for all of Saturday, that part of God was torn away and thrown into some other dimension. Now, if we believe that God is God is God, and Jesus is both the Son of God and God entirely (or simply God in human form), and we believe in the Bible and we believe that Jesus was in fact killed, dead, and resurrected on the third day, then we are saying that Saturday is extremely significant. The only day in history where God was gone and quiet all day long. Saturday was the darkest day ever. The process of redemption was not over yet. Jesus was dead, but we had not been fully redeemed by him yet - he was right in the middle of it. The followers of Jesus must have spent the entire day weeping and fasting and wailing and mourning and praying in utter despair. They probably didn't sleep on Friday night. They probably didn't sleep on Saturday night. They probably didn't bathe or change clothes or even speak. They must have spent every waking minute thinking about it.
I would have.
So. I think it's time we dove into the fullness of the death of Jesus and experience a little more of his suffering on the cross. I think we ought to put ourselves in the shoes of Mary Magdalene and try to understand something of what she must have felt from Friday to Sunday morning. I think in order to fully appreciate the glory of the resurrection and the joy of Easter Sunday, we have to fully appreciate the darkness of Saturday. So this year, and quite possibly every year for the rest of my life, I'm going to fast as long as Jesus was dead. I'm going to fast for the resurrection - starting after dinner on Friday and breaking the fast with breakfast on Sunday where I will rejoice with the risen King and the redemption of all of mankind.
I invite you to join me.
Put it on your calendar and fast with me in solidarity as a disciple who is and was utterly devastated by the death of Jesus and yet fully hopeful that he would conquer death and return to us, his bride, who has now been washed clean.
Post script - Christians love to talk about the verse that says something about keeping it a secret when you fast, which I think is a total cop-out. Yeah its annoying when people don’t shut up about it, but I don’t have any problem telling you guys what I am doing starting tonight and I don’t think you should be ashamed of it either. If there’s one thing I am certain of, Jesus didn’t give a flying shit about irritating non-believers.
In addition to fasting tomorrow, I am also going to be abstaining from most other things that take up my time. I’ll be posting a short video here tomorrow morning which will remain up all day, but other than that, no internet, no tv, no iphone. The point is to put yourself in a place where you grasp the fullness of what happened to Jesus, and why Saturday is such a dark day in human history.