“When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last breath, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” Mark 15:39
It’s over two thousand years later and we know now what they did not know then- in that moment. We read our bibles and we know that Jesus rose from the dead. We know that just as it was predicted in the scriptures, He came to life three days later. We know that He conquered death.
But to Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother Mary, they didn’t know. They witnessed the crucifixion and bore witness as Jesus was gruesomely tortured. Then as He was hung up on that cross, they grieved the suffering of someone they loved dearly. And now they’re sitting in their loss. Jesus is gone. He’s given up His soul. And all they know in this moment is that He has passed.
Imagine not knowing that Jesus would rise again. Imagine the feeling they had knowing the Messiah was killed and not knowing what was going to happen next. Because at this point, Jesus was undoubtedly the Son of God.
Even the centurion who probably took part in mocking and torturing Jesus admit it. Caiaphas most likely witnessed the temple veil being torn in half and then realized how wrong he was to have had plotted Jesus’ death. And then there’s Pilate who knew something was fishy and maybe now wishes he had trusted his gut. At the moment of His death, everyone everywhere knew who He was, but now He was dead.
How stupid they must have all felt.
But fast forward to present day, and we know.
We know that Sunday will bring a miracle. We know that Sunday will mark a prophesy fulfilled. We know that Jesus will rise again.
But that’s on Sunday. On this Holy Saturday, we sit in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. In between the suffering and the freedom. In between the loss and the deliverance. In between knowing the worst has happened but having faith that the best is yet to come.
And that’s why Holy Saturday is my favorite day of Holy Week. Because more often than not, I am sitting in the in between. Some days are torturous like Good Friday, and some days are joyful like Resurrection Sunday. But most of my days, I am between the suffering and the promise.
With God it’s not all bad days. Truly, the bad days are numbered and they don’t last for as long as they feel in the moment. Before you know it, the bad days are gone. But it’s also not all good days. Yes there are very, very many good days with God. Days when I get a good parking spot at the mall or days when the water at the beach sparkles just right. But even the good days are limited when we live in a broken world. And so truthfully, most days are sat right in between. They’re a mix of good and bad, and regardless of which outweighs the other, they all require a good load of faith.
Because when Mary witnessed her son being tortured, she needed to hold onto faith that this was all part of God’s plan. Then when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that it was empty, in faith she was determined to find His body and instead saw the resurrected Christ. It’s faith that pushes us to trust in God beyond our suffering, and it’s as a result of our faith that we will one day see Christ in Heaven.
So if I had to summarize it… Good Friday was a day of suffering. Resurrection Sunday is the day of rejoicing. And Holy Saturday is when we hold onto faith when we’re placed in the in between.