Palm Sunday— The world is excited. A Savior is coming, finally, to rescue them from the oppression of Rome. But more than that, the deliverer they had anxiously awaited for thousands of years was here. And He was getting ready to redeem them at last. People were laying down palm branches and the very coats off their backs as Jesus comes into the city.
So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13)
And then… Friday.
The sun was obscured. Darkness fell over the whole land as the curtain of the temple tore in two. The earth shook and the rocks were split. Dead saints came out of their tombs and appeared to people.
And the long-awaited Savior… died.
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
The next day was the Sabbath. What could anyone do? They could only wait.
In Luke, this day is described in half a verse:
“And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56b).
Imagine how the disciples felt when they woke up that morning. Think of the incredible weight of sadness they probably felt. Jesus, the One who was coming to save the world—He was dead.
And what about the women? They were there when He was crucified. They saw where He was buried. Do you think they slept at all that night? Maybe they cried themselves to sleep.
Over the past few days I’ve often thought about the waiting that this day entailed, some two thousand years ago. The stage is set for the greatest day in history… but Jesus’ followers don’t know it yet. If they had known, how might it have changed the way they viewed today?
Instead of the day after the most terrible day, it would have been the day before the best day.
Instead of mourning as those without hope, they would rejoice in the very real hope of what was to come.
Instead of hiding in fear, they would have been bold, knowing the Resurrection was at hand.
But they didn’t know. Not until Sunday.
The waiting Jesus’ followers did on that Sabbath years ago reminds me of the waiting Jesus’ followers are doing right now… waiting for Him. And yet, this time, we know.
We know the end of the story. We know our Savior is coming back for us. We know that we have a very real hope in heaven. Because the resurrection has happened!
How should that change how we live today, and tomorrow, and every day? Quite a bit, I think.
Waiting is a common theme among God’s people. But we no longer have to wait as those who have no hope, no expectation of good things to come. By Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has promised us life, and life abundantly.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”(Psalm 27:14)