I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. (Psalm 102:6-11 NIV)
The Day In Between
Not a lot is said about the day between Good Friday and Easter. For the Jews, it was part of the Sabbath, and the one line in scripture that we find on it is in Luke:
It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (Luke 23:54-56 NAS)
I think the word “rested” may provide a clue. Not only does it mean rested in the Greek, but it also means to be still, be silent and lead a quiet life. Now there is nothing about the day after Christ’s crucifixion that would imply leading a quiet life would be a reality. In fact, speechlessness is an appropriate application of the word, which can be a result of fear and grief. And these no doubt were the emotions that gripped the followers of Christ. And they could very much identify with the Psalmist above.
Fear and grief close in on us and we lose perspective. And the perspective the disciples lost was that this Saturday was temporary. Jesus would rise from the dead. Early on in His ministry, following His first miracle of changing water into wine, Christ was already telling His disciples what to expect; and BTW, he was also telling the Pharisees the same thing: Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19 NAS)
Saturday was undoubtedly a “long night”, but as the Psalmist says: Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Ps 30:5 ESV)
Are you in the midst of a long night? Granted, some of these long nights have to do with human nature:
The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So, remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 13:12-14 NLT)
Some of these long nights are out of our control (like the isolation we feel from COVID). So, what’s the perspective you’ve lost? Or what’s the perspective you need? The Apostle delivers a very “high bar” in Ephesians:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ. (Ephesians 1:7-9 ESV)
Redemption, forgiveness and His grace lavished upon us. That’s what Christ has given us through His blood on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. Is that your perspective this Easter?