18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.1 Peter 3:18-20
Holy Saturday remains a mystery in many ways in terms of what Jesus was doing. 1 Peter records that, after his death in the flesh, he spent time preaching the good news to the spirits in prison (place of the dead). What a revival service that would have been! Or perhaps he simply rested. It was Sabbath after all. Who could hold a moment of rest against him after all he had been through this weekend?
Whatever Jesus may have been doing, we can fully grasp what his followers must have gone through. The grief from the loss of their friend. The bewilderment of what was next after their leader was killed. The fear that would they be next. The dissolution of the dream of the kingdom that Jesus kept talking about when he was with them. All of this and so much more would have inhabited their hearts and minds on Saturday. The weight of the moment began to be felt.
Faith is built in moments like these. When we reach the end of our rope we find God’s grace is sufficient if we choose to hang on.
God did provide grace for them this day. It was called Sabbath. The commanded weekly rhythm of a day each week to publicly acknowledge that God can be trusted with all of life by ceasing from work. A day to remember that life is not built upon our work product but God’s provision.
Six days you will work, but on the seventh day you will rest; even in plowing time and in harvest time you will rest.Exodus 34:21
And while the followers of Jesus rested on the Sabbath, God’s plan for them was unfolding beyond the garden tomb. God was about to show once more that he can be trusted with all of life. Hope was not only on the horizon, however, but in the present. The comfort for their grief and the answer to their questions was right in front of them on Holy Saturday in the grace of Sabbath if they had ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts that would be courageous to trust that God always provides.
The followers of Jesus were invited to trust God in the darkness of the first Holy Saturday. We are invited to do the same. It is easier to trust in the moments that we feel in control. But trusting God in the midst of loss, doubt, and fear is the place where faith is forged and hope is given.