On Sunday, He was met like a King as He rode into Jerusalem.
On Monday, He taught in the city with great and challenging authority.
On Tuesday, He directly confronted the religious authority of the day and they resolved that this whole thing must come to an end.
On Wednesday, He is anointed with a lavish perfume.
On Thursday, He eats a final meal with His friends and washes their feet.
On Friday, Jesus is hung on the cross until He is dead.
On Sunday, He is alive, now and forever more.
This is admittedly a very brief and incomplete summary of what we are intentionally remembering this week. From Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, there is celebration, confrontation, prophecies both made and fulfilled, expressions of love and service, betrayal, pain, loss, and ultimately victory. But in the wide range of events and the accompanying emotions they bring, there is something missing:
The forgotten day.
That’s not to say nothing happened that day. People were busy:
The next day, which followed the preparation day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come, steal him, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take guards,” Pilate told them. “Go and make it as secure as you know how.” They went and secured the tomb by setting a seal on the stone and placing the guards (Matt. 27:62-66).
Those who orchestrated the crucifixion were busy. They had “i’s” to dot and “t’s” to cross. And I’m sure the disciples, who had for the most part scattered and fled, were also busy. They were running at a rapid pace in their minds, if not their legs, trying to process everything that had happened in the last couple of days. And yet this day, Saturday, is the day we remember the least, and the day that the Bible has the least amount to say.
Despite the activity happening, it is a forgotten day. But perhaps in this, too, there is great meaning for us. Reason being, we ourselves have plenty of days that feel forgotten. Or at least days when we feel forgotten.
It’s a pretty bad feeling to suddenly realize you have forgotten something. To realize that you forgot you had a meeting. To wake up and know you forgot you had a test to study for. To get somewhere and reach into your pocket and find out you forgot your wallet. To go to sleep and wake up in the middle of the night knowing you forgot someone’s birthday. It’s a bad feeling.
But it’s not nearly as bad as being the thing that is forgotten. We can drift in and out of periods of sadness; we can walk through seasons of anger; we can experience the pain of regret; but there is something unique about feeling forgotten. See, as bad as those other emotions and experiences might be, you can still feel validated as a person inside of them. But to feel forgotten? That’s a bit different because when you feel forgotten, your self worth is called into question. To be forgotten means, at least in the mind of the one forgotten, that you are not worth remembering. It’s worse in some ways than feeling sad; it’s as if you don’t exist. Because you don’t really matter.
So where is the good news for us in this? Where is the hope if today, right now, you have the sense of feeling forgotten?
The good news is that even though the the entire world might forget, God never does. He’s very good at remembering His children:
The Lord is a refuge for the persecuted,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you
because you have not abandoned
those who seek you, Lord.
Sing to the Lord, who dwells in Zion;
proclaim his deeds among the nations.
For the one who seeks an accounting
for bloodshed remembers them;
he does not forget the cry of the oppressed (Ps. 9:9-12).
Let us not mistake the silence of God for the absence of God. Let us not mistake the seeming insignificance of a day for the inactivity of God on a day. On Saturday, God was still at work, just as He had been all along. And on all our Saturdays, when we feel forgotten, God is still at work just as He has been all along.
Take heart today, Christian, if you feel like it’s Saturday – the day between what was and what is to come. The Lord is at work. The Lord is faithful. And on all our Saturdays, Jesus is alive.