We know very little about the Saturday of Holy Week. The disciples had run, Jesus was in the tomb and the Pharisees were confident they had heard the last of this upstart from Nazareth.
But something was happening. Slowly perhaps during the day the disciples made their way back to the room they had been with Jesus in for the Last Supper.
I’m sure there was talk among them. The news of Judas Iscariot’s suicide, fear of the possible retribution the Romans or the Temple Guard might bring down on them and the inevitable “now what?”
It looked like nothing was happening.
I try to remember Saturday when I’m not seeing anything changing. The reality may be quite different.
Just as when Daniel prayed the second time he saw nothing for three weeks, the disciples see nothing now. We miss what God’s doing because it’s out of our direct line of sight.
Jesus was busy taking Death’s sting and claiming the keys of Hell on Saturday.
But the skies were silent. No Angelic choir singing about what was going on. The Priests would have led services at the Temple – after all, it was the Sabbath. It was quiet.
The deep still before the plunge.
By this point Satan knew what a mistake he’d made. Jesus’s death must have revealed to him exactly who He was. Had he known, Satan would never have incited the mob to murder Jesus. Yet if we look at the Old Testament it becomes clear. Satan must be a temporal being, travelling in time as we are, but he didn’t see the signs. He didn’t notice over the previous three years, starting with Jesus being baptised by John and His subsequent announcement in the synagogue recorded in Luke 4 that the Day of the Lord’s Favour had finally arrived.
He didn’t notice when John sent his followers to Jesus from prison to ask if He was indeed the Christ that Jesus answered with actions not words, healing the sick, restoring sight, forgiving sins and telling them to go back and tell John what they had seen.
As all the prophecies in the Prophets were fulfilled, Satan was blind to it.
We have this concept of Satan as this warrior figure, terrifying and huge, or powerful in a more subtle way. We think evil is Freddie vs Jason or maybe Gabriel Byrne in “End of Days”.
But Satan is a coward. “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 Amplified)
The battle is won. If we submit to God, all we need to do is stand firm against the devil and he will flee from us. Satan will run in screaming terror because we are now the Righteousness of God, clothed in Christ.
In CS Lewis’s “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, the White Witch thinks she’s won firstly by taking the heart of Edmund, then by Aslan redeeming Edmund with his own life. If she’d understood the prophecies in Narnia that four human children would herald her demise she would have killed Edmund the day she met him. She was blinded in the story by her desire to eliminate all four children. Satan was blinded in trying to eliminate Jesus. In the fiction of Narnia, Lewis reflects the Truth of the Gospel. Jadis is undone by her own ambition, just as Satan is undone by his.
We can rely on the Gospel as we walk daily. We can claim the Name of Jesus in times of trouble. We are made co-heirs with Christ in the fullness of God’s riches.
On Saturday the disciples hadn’t realised it yet because they couldn’t see it.
But the Victory was won.
Our debt had been paid and we have been restored to God’s Family.