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March 30, 2024

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.’
– Luke 24:6

Dear Church Family,

I was recently asked, “what happened on Holy Saturday?  What do we remember that day?”  If you’ve been around church for awhile, you know what happened on Maundy Thursday – Jesus gathered in the Upper Room for the Passover, washed feet, instituted Holy Communion and then went to the Garden where he was arrested and deserted by his disciples.  The events of Good Friday are a little better known – Jesus appears before the high priest, is handed over to Pilate, is sentenced to death, is crucified, breathes his last, and is laid in the tomb.

So what exactly happened on Holy Saturday?  The answer is a little more complicated!  Really, it all depends on where you are looking.

If you consider the perspective of those who were waiting for the sabbath to finish so they could attend to Jesus’ body, you would think there wasn’t much going on.  You would simply know that Jesus was dead and that his body lay in a guarded tomb.

If you consider it from a cosmic perspective, there was, in reailty, quite a lot happening.  The full version of the Apostles’ Creed (which we use for baptisms), puts it this way, “he descended to the dead.”  Before Jesus opened the way to heaven, the Bible describes that those who died entered Sheol, a dark, shadowy place below the earth where both the righteous and unrighteous went.  There is a curious verse in 1 Peter 3:18-19 that sheds a little light on what was happening on Holy Saturday: “for Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.  He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.  After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits.”

So, another way we can answer this question from a cosmic perspective, is that on Holy Saturday Jesus descended to the place of the dead and preached the Gospel to those who had previously died, opening up the way to heaven when he rose from the grave.  It is because of this, that the apostle Paul can say in Romans 8:38, “for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Now, we know what happened on Easter morning.  The tomb was empty!  Jesus rose from the grave; and in doing so he both conqured sin and defeated death – opening up the way to heaven for all who had previously lived and died and for all who would come after and place their faith and trust in him.

I invite you to worship with us tomorrow on Easter morning where we will examine our own perspectives through the question the angels asked the women who came to the tomb.  “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.”  Jesus has dealt our sin a decisive blow.  Death no longer has the final word.  Darkness cannot overcome the light.  Good has triumphed over evil.  We no longer need to look for things that bring death to us and to our world.   We need only look to Christ who brings us life!

Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning!  I can’t wait to worship our risen Savior with you tomorrow on Easter Sunday!  We will gather at all of our usual times and will live stream all of our services to share good news with the world!

Yours in Christ,

Lance Richards
Senior Pastor
[email protected]

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