“Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!'” – Matthew 20:17-34
Friday Jesus was crucified and Sunday He defeated death… but we often forget about Saturday. Holy Saturday is the silence of a period which straddles death and life; it is the silence of work done and yet unfinished. That silent and holy Saturday is the space between mourning and rejoicing; it is a time in which death has not yet been defeated, nor can victory be proclaimed. Holy Saturday can be a time of doubt and unbelief. It’s a day where His followers may have doubted His words because of the horrific events just witnessed the day before and the silence thereafter.
As someone who loves Jesus, that particular Saturday, which is typically supposed to be a day of rest, would have been anything but restful. My emotions high and my faith being tested, I would have been on edge all day. So, take me to that Saturday–
My Lord and king has just been crucified and if I truly believe in His words, I would be able to rest and wait in hopeful anticipation, but here I am doing anything but resting. I am full of worry, my heart torn apart and my soul shaken to the core. It would be a struggle to have faith. I am sure my mind would be a constant back and forth… I believe, I don’t believe, I have faith, I don’t have faith, I have hope, I am hopeless… I am tossed back and forth by my waves of emotion instead of holding onto his words as Truth. Some of you have faith that can move mountains, I am someone who struggles with strong emotions and sometimes let them dictate my heart instead of letting Truth lead my heart.
Is it possible to be filled with faith and doubt at the same time? The mere presence of belief does not completely rid one of unbelief. This reminds me of the father in Mark 9 who brought his son to Jesus because the boy was possessed by an evil spirit. From a human perspective there was no hope for the boy, but this father knew that if he brought his son to the Master, he could be healed.
Jesus told the father that everything was possible for him who believes. Watch the words of the father as he responds to Jesus in Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help me to overcome my unbelief.” We are told that Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and it left the boy. Jesus’ healing took place right after the confessions of the boy’s father. We can paraphrase it as: “Lord, I believe a little bit, but I need you to give me the power to believe totally.” I can imagine that this response would be similar to a response from me on that silent Saturday. You know what Jesus’ words were and you trust Him, but you can’t help but still struggle with a little bit of doubt. Is what He said true? Is He really who He says He is? Will He do what He said He would do?
We have a choice as we wait for His predicted return… Will we believe or will we doubt? Will we let the waves of our emotions toss us back and forth or will we remain steadfast in His Truth? Trust in Him. Have patient confidence. If you are still struggling, cry out this raw faith prayer:
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”