Holy Saturday marks the day after the crucifixion and the day before the Resurrection. Saturday was the Sabbath in this culture, the day of rest, the day each week when no one was permitted to work. Everyone is in their homes. No one is at Jesus’ tomb.
Even in Scripture, there is a great absence- nothing is mentioned about what happened on the day in between Jesus' death and resurrection.
For today’s devotional, I am going to walk you through a prayer activity for Holy Saturday. Right now, find a quiet spot (or put on headphones with instrumental music if you’re in public!) and sit. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths to help you slow down. Pray, “Lord, help me to enter into your Easter story.”
Once you are quiet, imagine this scene: You are one of the disciples, a follower of Jesus. You’ve followed him as he has preached, taught, and performed many miracles. And you just watched him die a gruesome death reserved for the worst criminals. You thought he was the great Messiah who would overthrow the oppressive government and restore you and your people to power. Yet he failed. He’s dead. What the heck is God up to?? Read these words to yourself as if you were one of his disciples:
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
Once you have read these words, consider these questions.
Questions to Consider
- As you imagined you were one of the disciples, what were you thinking and feeling as you read the passage? What do you think it was like for them on that Saturday, not knowing that Jesus would come back to life the next day?
- Think of a time where you felt abandoned by or disappointed by God. Maybe you’re experiencing that now. How did you feel?
- Read this second paragraph from Psalm 22. What words strike you from Psalm 22?
Everyone who follows Jesus will experience a time where God seems absent. Trauma. Disappointment. Suffering. Death of dreams. These can all be circumstances where it seems like God has abandoned us. When we are in a “Saturday” season of life, when all seems lost, it’s so hard to remember that “Sunday”- when Jesus rises from the dead and defeats suffering and sin- is coming.
Today, my invitation for you is to sit in the “Saturday” feelings, to reflect on your own life and in the world where God seems absent. What is it like for you? Are you tempted to lose hope? Or are you tempted to suppress these hard feelings and pretend like everything is ok? Sit in the tension with Jesus. Trust that Sunday is coming and trust that God has something for you on Saturday- the day when he seems absent.
Close your time by praying Psalm 22 as a raw prayer to God.