Devotion by Amy Hall, Member of Northstar Pulaski
When I was a child, Easter was one of the most special times of the year. Spring had arrived and the coming of Easter meant that we could look forward to a visit from the Easter Bunny. The anticipation was thick – you could almost touch it! Waiting for Easter morning to arrive was the biggest exercise in patience that any child could EVER possibly hope to endure. (Well, next to Christmas.) New dressed, baskets filled with treats, family visits, and more – there was so much to look forward to on Easter Sunday.
The Saturday before Easter, though, was tough. We got to sit at the kitchen table and help Mom color hard-boiled eggs. It was messy and it took way too long. We would drop an egg in that cup of vinegar-scented dye (oh, the stink!) and wait…and stir…and wait some more. For some reason, my sister and I were both supposed to have a dozen colored eggs! Once the eggs were sufficiently dyed, we were allowed to place them gently in our Easter baskets – the same baskets awaiting the Easter bunny’s arrival. And that was all, end of story. We had to color the eggs if we wanted to hunt for them the next day. There was nothing particularly exciting about that Saturday. The fun was in the anticipation of Sunday afternoon egg hunts with the cousins!
People have speculated about “holy” Saturday since that first Easter some 2000 years ago. Like the seventh day of creation, did Jesus “rest” from creating the plan for salvation? Did he pray or think or sing? Did he go somewhere? We know from Matthew 27 that the chief priests and Pharisees were more than a little worried about whether Jesus might go (or be taken) somewhere. Going to Pilate, they said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead…’” (Matthew 27:63-64, ESV). Since he rose anyway, despite the guards’ best efforts, maybe he didn’t stay in the tomb long at all. We don’t really know.
We also don’t have an account of what Jesus’ disciples were doing on that Saturday. No doubt some were reeling from the shock of it all. Some were grieving – crying, wailing, pacing, or maybe they were just quietly staring into space. Some might have been angry. Others may have been disappointed and discouraged. Two ladies named Mary were making plans to prepare the body because Jesus’ burial was hastily accomplished to avoid dishonoring the Sabbath.
Whatever they were feeling or doing, one thing is certain: they were not anticipating the resurrection on Easter morning. While my Easter Sunday mornings were exciting and filled a childish joy, that first Easter morning was an even bigger day for the disciples (though they didn’t seem to know it at first). Instead of a basket of half-rotten eggs and a huge chunk of chocolate, they got to claim eternal life. How much different would that Saturday have been if the disciples has understood God’s plan for reconciling us to Himself. They might have been able to wait in joyful anticipation for the time to arrive when they could find the empty tomb. That’s better than an Easter basket any day.