You know, we have it easy. It’s a gorgeous Saturday – – robin’s egg blue skies, sunshine that feels all yellow and warm, backyard birds calling in neighborly bonhomie, (possibly giddy relief all those pink, purple, blue and yellow eggs hidden in the grass and branches aren’t their eggs) – – the Day Before Easter, Saturday before celebrating, Resurrection – and we live KNOWING that Jesus rose from that tomb on that Sunday around 2,000 years ago. We know!
. . . .Knowing can be a dangerous thing, though. Today, I’m baking a chocolate cake to celebrate, along with German potato salad, green beans . . . food for sitting around a table to celebrate the resurrection. . . .
We are living right now in luxurious, over-flowing blessing, even for those still in isolation – we know Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. We know God didn’t forsake Him, and that Jesus didn’t forsake us. . . . and I too often live too familiarly, taking Easter Sunday for granted and not familiarly enough with the truth of what Jesus’ sacrifice has allowed me to live and be.
The first Inbetween Good Friday and Easter Sunday, wasn’t a celebratory place to be for those who knew Jesus, who walked with Jesus and loved him. On that first Inbetween, I imagine the apostles sat around a table, grieving, frantic, stunned with the loss not just of their friend that died but that who they believed to be the Son of God had died.
Isolated, self-quarantined – confused, bereft, not understanding—the son of God had been with them and now – it was all gone – on a Friday afternoon after a soul-filling Thursday night dinner their life had been turned upside down.
Two men handled their loss in two different ways, two men who both betrayed Him, two men who didn’t understand, who didn’t “see” God’s plan, who couldn’t fathom resurrection, even though Lazarus had been resurrected.
One, Judas, went to the church leaders who lived by the law to find redemption, forgiveness. Nobody was willing to help him find forgiveness – neither the church, its people or the law. In the stark darkness, the over-powering weight of his sin, his betrayal, he couldn’t find or believe redemption was available to him and killed himself, the terrible Inbetween place of law and grace.
The other, Peter, grieved his betrayal, too, but instead of looking for redemption from the law who couldn’t give it, he sought his brothers in Christ – Imagine how hard that must have been – to have denied Christ, the shame knowing how he had let his savior down and instead of isolating himself from those who loved Jesus, possibly risking rejection, he joined them. . . and. . . they accepted him, pulled him into the room of their shared grief, didn’t hold his betrayal against him, and they all held on until Sunday morning when Grace was found walking in the garden with the stone rolled away from the tomb.
The contrast here is startling: the weight of sin verses the weight of grace. The law led to death; grace led to resurrection. Peter held on to Jesus, even in the dark Inbetween, in the not knowing that Jesus’ story wasn’t over.
Saturday, today, I live in the bright Hallelujah light of Resurrection – and, friends, I want to feel deeply, to the core of my soul, what Jesus’ death meant, what the apostles went through – so I can better rejoice what Jesus did for me. Not glimmers or ebbs and flows – but clearly, enduringly, consistently. Saturday before a Resurrection Sunday, or any other day, even in the great Inbetween of a crucifixion challenge and its resurrection redemption, I don’t want to live so familiarly that I miss the real truth of the daringly deep love of a Savior giving amazing grace.
For further reading, A Tale of Two Betrayals: A Veil’s Difference Between Judas and Peter