A Preparation Day (Sabbath Day In Jews) Before Easter Resurrection Celebration.

They tried to keep Jesus safely dead then, and they try it still today.

Again and again, when the newspapers or the radio stations want to talk about God, they ignore Jesus. We hear experts pro- claiming that science has disproved God — without realizing that the ‘god’ you could squeeze out of the picture by more and more scientific discoveries is not the God whom Christians worship. Our world is still full of the modern equivalents of high priests going to the governor to have a guard placed on the tomb — the sceptics appealing for help to the powerful. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

Sometimes, though, we Christians need to observe a Holy Saturday moment.
On Holy Saturday, there is nothing you can do except wait.
The Christian faith suffers, apparently, great defeats.
There are scandals and divisions, and the world looks on and loves it, like the crowds at the foot of the cross.
When the Pope visited the United Kingdom in September 2010, he spent almost all his time talking about Jesus while the commentators in the media spent almost all their time talking about sex.
And where the church, through its own fault, has caused scandal, a time of silence may be appropriate.

But God will do what God will do, in God’s own time. The world can plot and plan, but all of that will count for nothing when the victory already won on the cross turns into the new sort of victory on the third day.
In many parts of the western world today, the church is almost apologetic, afraid of being sneered at.
It looks as though the chief priests of our culture, the Pharisees in today’s media, and even the political leaders, have won.
Give them their day to imagine that.
It’s happened before and it will happen again.
The Romans tried to stamp out the Christian faith once and for all at the end of the third century, but within a few years more than half the empire had converted and the new emperor gave in. Many people in England were sceptical about Christian faith after the religious turmoil of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but great revivals of various different sorts took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth.
Who knows what will happen next, after the sneering and scheming of the sceptics of our day? Our part is to keep Holy Saturday in faith and hope, grieving over the ruin of the world that sent Jesus to his death, trusting in the promises of God that new life will come in his way and his time.

And there is usually something to be done in the present, even when times are sad and hard.
It took considerable courage for Joseph of Arimathea to go to Pontius Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body.
Peter and the others had run away to hide because they were afraid of being thought accomplices of Jesus.
Joseph had no such qualms, even after Jesus’ death.
Some of Jesus’ followers might well have thought that, if the Romans had crucified him, he can’t have been the Messiah, so he must have been a charlatan.
They might willingly have let the Romans bury him in a common grave, as they usually did after a crucifixion (always supposing there was anything left to bury once dogs, birds and vermin had done their work).
But Joseph didn’t see it that way.
A clean linen cloth; the tomb he had prepared for himself; and the security of a great stone.

It all had to be done in haste, with the sabbath approaching (that’s why the two Marys were watching, so they could go back on the first day of the new week to complete what should be done to the body).
But what was done was done decently. Sometimes, as we work for and with Jesus, it may feel a bit like that.
We aren’t sure why we’ve got to this place, why things aren’t going as we wanted or planned, and the life seems to have drained out of it all.
That’s a Holy Saturday moment.
Do what has to be done, and wait for God to act in his own way and his own time.

Help us, gracious Lord, to wait for your victory, and in the mean- time to serve you in whatever way we can……………………….

Saturday (Steve Thomason)
Saturday must have been a long and dark day.
Not only did they hide in fear of their lives, but even worse, they grieved deeply.
Jesus was gone.
His disciples had watched the soldiers carry him off to his execution the day before.
Now it was Saturday, their master was dead and the grief cut deeply, leaving them utterly hollow.

They had not signed up for this. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah.
He was supposed to lead them to victory over their oppressors.
He was supposed to establish Israel as a strong nation once again and allow them to bask in the joy of sweet justice.
Pain, grief, and sorrow were not part of the package.

Perhaps you have felt like the disciples that dark Saturday.
I know I have.
Over a fifteen-month period in my life I experienced the deaths of a friend, two grandmothers, my father-in-law, and the church that we had planted, as well as the near death experiences of a sister-in-law and a niece.
Wham! There I was.
It seemed like everything around me was dying.
I didn’t sign up for this.
I thought the way of following Jesus was one of victory and peace.
All I felt was pain and despair.
Actually, I had lost the ability to feel.
I wish I could say that I handled it with poise and dignity, quietly nodding and smiling, quoting pithy platitudes about God’s sovereignty.
I didn’t.
I toggled between numb denial and irritating doubt.
I wondered if perhaps I didn’t measure up. Perhaps God was punishing me for something.
Perhaps I’d been duped all these years and the universe really was a cold and empty place.

I have to think that the disciples had similar feelings on that dark Saturday.
It seemed as if all hope was gone.
We feel this way because we forget an important truth.
The way of Jesus is a way of pain, grief, and sorrow.
Jesus suffered much in his life – even before his arrest and execution.
As a child he knew what it meant to be hidden in Egypt in fear for his life. He knew the loss of his stepfather, Joseph.
He wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus.
He grieved over the blindness of the citizens of Israel.
He agonized to the point of blood in the garden of Gethsemane.
He screamed out in the words of his ancestor, David, as he hung on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

But Jesus told us it would be this way.
In John’s account of Jesus’ final teaching Jesus said that God would prune the branches that clung to the Vine
(John 15:1-17).
Pruning hurts.
To have large parts of your life severed from you is not a pleasant experience.
There is no joy in the sensation of shears cutting into your flesh. Yet, as the Great Gardener knows, without pruning there is no life.

That is the way of Jesus – the way of God’s love and grace.
God purifies us with pain. The disciples learned this and went on to write to the churches about it. James said to consider it pure joy when we suffer various trials, because in the end it makes us complete and strong. Peter told us that suffering refines our hearts like fire refines gold. Then Paul, as he described the painful process of working through persecution and breaking down the walls of prejudice, reached the climax of the whole process with one word – hope.

Saturday was finally over. On Sunday the disciples came face to face with a reality that is deeper than grief.
They met hope.
Jesus plowed through pain and grief and came out the other side alive once more.
Saturdays will come. Of that you can be sure. They will come and they will be painful.
They may last a day; they may last twenty months. When they come, remember this – without Saturday we don’t get to Sunday.
The love of Jesus is our hope for today and forever.
We will grieve, but we can grieve with hope.
Key Scriptures: Philipian 2: 5- 11
1 Corinthians 11: 17 -34….

But the main thing is that, once more, they are told not to be afraid (verse 5). What is there to be afraid of, if Easter has dealt with the greatest monster of all, death itself? Why should you be afraid of anything, if Jesus has been raised from the dead, if the old world has cracked open and a new world has been born?

And Easter always looks outwards. From the very start, the news that Jesus is risen contains a command: ‘Go!’ Go, first to Galilee; go back to where it began, back to your roots to meet the risen Jesus there and watch him transform everything, including your oldest memories. And, as you obey the command of the angel, Jesus himself may perhaps meet you in person (verse 9). Take hold of him. Worship him. This is his day, the Day of Days. Make it yours too.

We praise you, Lord Jesus Christ, because you have overcome death, and opened God’s new creation to all believers.

Happy Easter Celebration

This day as we celebrate God Son’s resurrection,may you and your household resurrected with him. 
Today I pray for those situations around you where death seems to be winning out over life. 
May Lord bring life into the most hopeless places, and that death will not have the last word . 

I praise the Lord Jesus Christ, because he has overcome death, and opened God’s new creation to you and family,in Jesus’Name.



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