[Remember that after the Sabbath, Easter Day is the first day of the week]
Good Friday is called Great Friday in many Christian traditions, and maybe that is a deep and profound way to know it. “Good” doesn’t make sense, but Great, in that this is the Day that God put everything up for grabs, so to speak, even God’s own credibility. For on that day God was mocked, and beaten, and passed over by the crowds in favour of Caesar and Barabbas. On that day creation crucified its creator. But we need to remember the Sabbath and that the Sabbath is built into the order of creation. In this brief but overlooked verse from Luke, after the burial of Jesus, “… on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23.56).
The Sabbath is the day we call Holy Saturday, the day when Jesus lay in the cold of the tomb, the day when the world was stilled, the day when our memories return to Genesis reminding us of God’s deep satisfaction with the creation God has made. So, as Christ’s mortal body lies motionless in death, the Creator rests again, another, final seventh day, re-enacting and fulfilling the Sabbath of the first creation. Jesus is the beloved Son who waits in death that we might wait in death with him, knowing that this place of death is rest. It is not unusual then that we use phrases as “rest in peace,” and “laid to rest,” as expressions of deep faith and trust in God in whom we rest.
The pace of contemporary time has made us so impatient that even the Sabbath which requires us to wait in unhurried hopefulness is a nuisance to our instant desires. The initial impatient desires of Judas and the other disciples stumble with the death of Jesus. It is only after the resurrection, their resurrection, their patient, faithful hopeful mission begins.
We live a new life now. Tomorrow is real for us but we must learn to
Christ is risen, the first day.