Meridian Star

Religion

April 19, 2014

From the Shepherd's Heart

MERIDIAN — “And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” — Luke 23:56

Of all the days Christians celebrate during Holy Week, Saturday has the least to note. For the most part, this day is a gap between two extraordinary events: the crucifixion, and the resurrection.

    Scripture gives many details about the crucifixion. We know who helped carry the cross. We record much that was said. We know many who were witnesses to the event. We hear the report of earthquakes and darkness that accompanied the event. We know Jesus’ final words. We know what time of day He died.

    We also know much about the resurrection. We know who the first to go to the tomb were. We know about the confusion and dismay of all as they heard the news that “Jesus is alive.” We know the frustration of the religious opposition that a guarded tomb could be empty.

    However, the day between these two events seems empty. All we know is that, “On the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment.” The question that I seek to answer is, “Who is represented in the term, they?”

    “They” could represent the women who had witnessed where Jesus was buried. They had made a hurried effort to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. However, they did not feel satisfied with the effort. After the Sabbath, they planned to do more to respect the departed.

    “They” could represent the opposition to Jesus. They had accomplished what they wanted: His death. They watched until Jesus died and guarded the tomb when Jesus was buried. They relaxed because their mission was accomplished. He was gone.

    “They” could represent the disciples. Out of grief and fear, the disciples could have wanted to retreat from the disastrous events of the week. For them, the Sabbath would be a day of rehearsing the recent events, grieving and comforting one another, and soul searching for direction and understanding.

    “They” could represent Jesus. In six days, He had created everything and rested on the seventh day. Now, the seventh day is a day of rest after He had created the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. For Jesus, Saturday represents an accomplished mission and a completed act that needed no further attention. “It is finished” was the claim of Christ on the Cross.

    “They” should represent us. We stand between two great events. The first is the coming of Christ to be the sacrifice for our sin. The second is the return of Christ to bring us to our eternal reward of fellowship with Him.

    Like the women, we live today in anticipation of an incomplete expression of love for Jesus and wait for the opportunity to love Him. Like disciples, we use today to find meaning and purpose to the world in which we live. We have much to grieve, yet much to anticipate.

    On this day, I celebrate the completion of grace for me! I know how badly I need a God that forgives and I have seen Him. His name is Jesus.  I know the world I live in is not perfect, but I know the Lord is not through showing me the effect He has in my life.

    A new day is coming that shows His power over my greatest enemy, death. When I finally realize that victory, I will begin to celebrate!

Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www. psdbc.org.

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