Scripture tells us that on Good Friday Jesus was crucified and on Sunday, He was resurrected. But what about Saturday, the day in between?
Saturday, the day in between?
We’ve seen the movies, The Passion, King of Kings, Ben Hur and many others. They show us the humanness of Christ, the treachery of man, and the power of God. We hate the injustice, but as Christians, we know the necessity of Christ dying for us. Without His death, we’d have no bridge to the Father. We rejoice when Sunday comes and the tomb is empty! What happened to Jesus on Saturday? Where was He? What was He doing?
Today, on this day in between, I want us to think about what He endured. The suffering didn’t end with His death on the cross. He did not release His soul from His body to float around earth for a while and then return to his body. No. He descended into hell. For us. Otherwise, the debt would not be paid, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. Strong’s Concordance, defines death in this particular scripture as the Greek noun thanatos and here it speaks of Christ punishment, with the implication of future misery in hell. I don’t like to think of hell, or the fact that I was squarely on the wide road to it, until I met Jesus and He changed my direction. But it bears a great deal of thinking about, because Jesus went to hell, so that when we believe, repent, and accept Him, we do not go to hell.
Imagine how the disciples felt on that in between day. They believed Jesus was the Messiah, and indeed, He is; however, they expected the Messiah to be a warrior, to free them from earthly oppression, to make them rulers of the land. God’s plans are always bigger and farther reaching than ours! On that in between day, while the disciples scattered and hid from the authorities in fear, Jesus was fighting a battle in hell that would free them, and us, for all eternity, not just the oppression of earth, brought about by the devil and his ability to entice us to sin.
Here is further validation. After the resurrection, Mary Magdalene sees Jesus in the garden and she does not recognize Him, she believes he is the gardener. Once He opens her eyes, she realizes who He is and she wants to touch Him. He does not allow her to because He tells her He has not yet ascended to the Father, read the full story here. If he had not ascended to the Father and He had not been on earth during this period, from where do you think He had come? Hell.
We do not like sermons about hell and many do not believe there is a hell. Frequently I’ve heard it joked about, as if hell is a partying place where all the people that want to have fun get to go. If we really believed, and could conceive of the torment and hopelessness that is hell, we would not joke about it or tell someone to go there. Hell was never intended for humans. Hell was intended for the devil and his followers AKA demons. We have no problem believing angels exist, but seem to baulk at demons. Demons are the same creatures as angels, they just followed the wrong dude - Satan.
The Good News is this: Christ left heaven and came to earth for us, He died for us, He beat hell for us and His resurrection is proof of His having beat hell. Here’s a great scripture for this in between day, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
Marantha my friends!
Some might call it a tuna melt - but it really began as the tuna burger. This, you must understand, was before Julia Child ushered in the period of gourmet cooking. Open faced, toasted hamburger buns topped with tuna (mixed with just the right amount of mayo), canned tomatoes (I use the petite chopped), and enough cheese to make the tomato look like it’s taking a nap. You might ask what this has to do with a legacy - it’s a fair question.
My grandmother, Ruth Victoria Martin Teeter, first served this concoction to my mother, where the recipe came from, I have no idea. My mother made them for us, I made them for my family, and both my children make them. It isn’t about the recipe. It’s about the meal. I think we would all agree that society as a whole revolves around meals - always has.
One of my favorite parts of the Bible is where Jesus reinstates Peter after Peter has denied being Jesus disciple. Jesus had warned the disciples that the time was near when they would all desert Him. Peter vehemently denies that he would do such a thing, even goes so far as to proclaim he would die for Jesus. Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him three times before the rooster crows that day. This comes to pass and Peter is devastated, sick at heart, and weeps bitterly.
Later, after the resurrection, some of the disciples go fishing, among them, Peter. Nothing unusual in this, they were fishermen before they were disciples. They catch nothing and are heading back to shore when a man on shore suggest they throw their net on the right side of the boat. They are doubtful, but figure it won’t hurt to try. The result? They struggle to haul in the net that now holds 153 fish! Yes, the Bible gives you the exact number - think there could be a tuna in that net? John is the first to realize that the stranger on shore is Jesus. Peter is so excited at the prospect of seeing Jesus that he jumps overboard and swims to shore, leaving the rest to tend the fish.
Can’t you feel Peter’s excitement, his love, his joy?! When he reaches shore, Jesus has prepared a meal - isn’t our Lord awesome! He is always feeding us, literally and spiritually! Jesus asks Peter the same question three times, “Do you love me?” To which Peter replies, “Yes”. You can read the full story here and here. I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Each time Peter replies, Jesus tells him what he wants him to do in life. Who of us, at some time, has not denied Christ? Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we ask for forgiveness and repent, He forgives us? He then strengthens us and changes us so that we do not repeat the past.
God’s love is greater than we can imagine. The closest I can come, is the love I have for my children. I would gladly give my life for them, but I can’t say I would give their lives up for anyone. But God gave His son for us. WOW! How does this relate to that tuna burger?
Never underestimate the value of time spent around a meal. The last supper was were Jesus told Peter he would deny Him and it was another meal where He reinstated Peter. A few other examples: Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast and twice fed thousands with only a basket full of bread and fish. And let’s not forget that the original sin was all due to the desire to eat an apple!
Today, a lot of meals are hurried - we rush from one activity to another. My memories of meals with my parents and sibling and those I enjoyed with my children, are priceless. Recently I spoke with a friend of my daughter. It was the first time we had seen each other in many years. When she realized who I was her response was, “The last time I saw you was when you made those tuna melts for us! I make them for my family!” Her words made my heart smile and warmed me from the inside out. Something so simple can make memories not only for your family, but all who dine at your table. Share the love - even if it is the shape of a tuna burger.