I was privileged to be in Parc Prison on Saturday morning, rapping for around 25 Young Offenders and sharing the good news of Easter with them. While it’s always good to preach to a captive audience (lol!) it was amazing how gripped they were, how challenged they seemed to be and how warmly they responded to me telling them that their sin was horrific to a holy God and fully deserving of death, but that in Christ they could know forgiveness and newness of life. However, as I was preaching, something struck me really hard (nothing to do with a prison riot, praise God) and that is the beauty of Easter Saturday!
And I got really excited about it!
Think about it, those of us who know Christ and love His gospel are crazy for the cross on Friday, we rave about the resurrection on Sunday morning, but Saturday kind of gets lost in the middle! And it shouldn’t! Alright there didn’t seem to be much happening as Jesus’ body lay lifeless in the tomb following His brutal crucifixion, but that time in the tomb is as central to the gospel as the other 2 days, as the Apostle Paul reminds us:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…” (1Corinthians 15v1,3-4)
Paul also wrote this to the Romans:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6v3-4)
I used to love singing an old school hymn back in the day of my EMW roots that had this immense chorus:
“Living, he loved me; dying, he saved me;
Buried, he carried my sins far away;
Rising, he justified freely, for ever:
One day he’s coming—O, glorious day!”
(They don’t write them like they used to!)
On the cross Jesus literally became sin and bore the full weight of God’s wrath for it all. Then He was buried, taking with Him every remnant of our sin, shame and guilt. When Christ arose He was no longer the sin bearer but the death defeater! No longer the suffering servant but the glorious, victorious redeemer! I am free from my filthy, rebellious past because it was buried with Jesus, and when He rose again in newness of life, He left my sin that He had suffered and died for, in the grave – never to be seen again!
That’s why I got excited about Easter Saturday, and that’s why a room full of criminals, with pasts they would love to be able to leave behind and forget, also got excited about it! In fact they responded to the message with rapturous applause!
Praise God for Easter Saturday!