Every Easter Saturday, that day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I find myself pondering what it must have been like for Jesus’ followers on that day. What did they do? What were they thinking? How did they spend their day? What thoughts were running through their heads? Their leader was dead; their Messiah had been arrested, beaten, crucified, killed, buried. Miracles had attended his suffering–darkness and earthquake–and yet still he was dead. Confusion must have reigned. Bewilderment.
It’s no wonder that Christians worship on Sunday. Muslims worship on Friday, Jews worship on Saturday, but Christians worship on Sunday because that is the day when Christ proved that he had conquered death. This is why we are Sunday Christians. We are not Friday Christians who serve a dead Savior, not Saturday Christians still waiting and wondering, but Sunday Christians who serve a living, breathing Savior–one who is alive and one who reigns. He died because he had to die. Our sin demanded blood and death. And yet he rose because he had to rise. He was the Son of God; how could death hold him? How could the Creator of all that exists be held down by death? It cannot happen and it did not happen. Christ is risen.
And for 2,000 years Christians have been celebrating Jesus’ conquest. I could turn to hundreds of books and songs and poems today. But allow me to turn to one of my all-time favorites, a poem that gives just a glimpse of the hope Christ offers through his resurrection. This is John Donne’s “Death, Be Not Proud.”
DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
He is risen!