So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!"
And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Jesus breathed His last, gave up His spirit, and they hastily snatched Him off the cross and placed Him in a borrowed tomb, and that was that. Another human being had died and now the friends and family were left to do what family and friends do - to grieve and mourn, to reflect and reminisce, and to cling to each other. Wait and pray that somehow they'd understand, somehow it would make sense, somehow the raw pain would numb and they'd maybe feel better one day.
They had to wait at least one whole day because sunset Friday meant the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath and that wouldn't end until Saturday evening. There was no way they could go and take care of His body on Saturday, and who wanted to be tripping around in a cemetery in the pitch black that night? Sunday morning would come and then they'd try to crawl and scratch into a life without Jesus.
That Saturday must have felt like a hellish dream, like a hazy fog out of which they couldn't escape. Countless times, I bet, they mumbled and whispered to each other, "I just can't believe it" or "It just doesn't seem real." They had ridden the wave that crested in His triumphant welcome to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and that crashed on Thursday night with His betrayal and arrest. As bad as that was, it was only the portal to the nightmare of watching His beating and then witnessing the horror of him staggering under the weight of the Cross as He toted it to the place of His execution. Hours later, they could still hear the jarring sound of a metal hammer pounding sharp nails through flesh.
So, they waited. All day Saturday. All night in twisted, agonized sleep. Wait. Wait. Wait.
And so do we. The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter is a powerful reminder that God acts in His own time, that we do not set the agenda, that we really are not masters of our own universe, no matter how hard we try to be. No one could hurry Easter for even a millisecond, and none can rush it now. It's out of our hands.
Which brings us to another truth. Just as we can't hurry it, we also can't prevent it, nor postpone it, nor cancel it. The Resurrection happened. Period. Easter will take place this year. No matter what, and no matter how empty our churches appear to be. That was not just another human being who died on that rugged Cross and because of that, everything in life is different for those who believe in Him.
We wait this Saturday. But we wait with hope and with faith. Because Sunday morning is coming and nothing is going to change that! Praise God!