A Strange, Mysterious Rest


Just around the corner from Maundy Thursday, is Good Friday. Wikipedia points these out as good surnames to important holy-days.

So what is Saturday?

With a little wiki-digging I found it to be celebrated as “Holy Saturday,” or “Black Saturday [hmmm made me think of a rock group from another era],” or “Low Saturday,” or “White Saturday.”

However the title I liked best was “The Great Sabbath.” In Eastern Orthodoxy it is the holiday commemorating the day Christ “rested” in the tomb of death.

What a strange “day of rest.” The rushing about by the Jewish crowds and religious leaders to get ready after the protracted crucifixion. Breaking legs to hurry the death of criminals; puncturing the side of a dead man to insure all would “rest in peace.”

The scurry of frantic followers to bury an assassinated Icon before the setting of the sun. Sondown had come.

He uttered “It is finished!” – Scattered disillusioned disciples would have certainly concurred. The grand vision of a revolution was washed up, finished, shattered, as the Miracle-man was executed.

What a strange mysterious calm must have fallen over earth and heaven. As the torture of the Creator of the Universe was coming to an end, a collective gasp of nature and extra-terrestrials created gale force winds and black holes—all creation completely astonished at human depravity and Divine degradation. But now it was done, and the quiet reverence of this unholy act stills the landscape, the spacescape. The Way, The Truth, and The Life is gone.

Light had given way to darkness. Sonset had come.

As Sabbath morning arrives, folks are off to church as usual. Services are held, observances remain unaltered. People go about their religious way. Business as usual. The Lord of the Sabbath had been neutralized. Now things can get back to normal.

But for some, nothing will ever be the same. The paranoia was high, the shock was setting in. There was an emotional cocktail of terror, shame, and bewilderment. Once extra-ordinary fishers of men, their superhuman powers stripped at the very apex of what was to be the crowning of a new regime.

Powers to heal—gone. Ability to cast out demons—demolished to the point of inability to cast out their own. Huddled in the crevices of the city, the followers of the Rabbi come into the Great Sabbath, heavy laden, rest-less.

All the while, along the streets of the city, the worships and rituals of Sabbath continue as scheduled. The bustle of temple practices, the observance of travel limits, the carefulness to observe the Sabbath doesn’t lose step. Rest-lessness abounds.

Only One rests. In the darkness of a cave, One tastes the eternal, dream-less slumber. What a strange, mysterious rest.

Rest well Beloved One.

Rest well.

Sonrise is just around the corner.


About A Allan Martin, PhD

Jeremiah 24/7
This entry was posted in 40 Days, IGNITION Easter and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to A Strange, Mysterious Rest

  1. carolynmacomber says:

    I will come back to this post again and again. What a candid shot of what it must have felt like to live during the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I hope there will be a sequel to this post – I was blessed and moved by it.

  2. elisa says:

    I’ve also heard it referred to as “Silent Saturday”. May I recommend an excellent book entitled “God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer” where the author, Pete Greig, examines the times when God does not answer our prayers and is silent in the framework of the weekend of Easter when God was silent. While it was a day of rest it was also a day when the followers of Jesus cowerd in the frustration of silence from Heaven. Hmmm – much to ponder.

  3. allan says:

    This entry is part of a book to be released by Pacific Press. I just had to post it given the important days to come. Thanks for your indulgence.


  4. carolynmacomber says:

    I will be looking forward to the book’s release! Thank you for posting.

  5. aamphd says:

    Elisa and Carolyn, thank you for your kind commentary. I know that Elisa shared this in her Sabbath School, and Carolyn I appreciate your return to this blog reflection. If you both would indulge my curiosity, I would love to hear some more of your thoughts, experiences, and reactions.

  6. Bob Burns says:

    Interesting info, Allan. I knew about Maundy Thursday and some of the other special days surrounding the resurrection but I hadn’t heard about “The Great Sabbath.” Of course, every Sabbath is great to me! Congrats on the book! Hopefully, I can read the full text of it sometime. Keep up the good work.

  7. “Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person–the man Christ Jesus. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible. Christ, the sinless One, will save every son and daughter of Adam who accepts the salvation proffered them, consenting to become the children of God. The Saviour has purchased the fallen race with His own blood. (Lift Him Up, Chapter 3, 1988, 76) … … … … Mysterious Rest …

  8. Simona says:

    Wow. I am looking forward to purchacing an autographed copie. Even more than that I am looking forward to diving into the “…Rest” of this book.

  9. aamphd says:

    Thanks Simona, come by and purchase one from me directly and I will donate 20% of the proceeds to Invisible Children [http://www.invisiblechildren.com], the “rest” will help me retire early.

  10. lisahope says:

    the rest of Jesus in the midst of the chaos of his followers… seems to be a familiar theme. Jesus asleep in the boat while the disciples think they are going to die…. Jesus, calmly asking the disciples to feed the masses of 5,000+, while they frantically attempt to calculate the costs…. Jesus telling me to not be anxious about tomorrow while i nervously wonder about my future…

    Jesus could rest because He knew the end from the beginning. it is amazing to me to consider how He willingly laid down His life, knowing He would pick it up again. and rested in the meantime….

    these thoughts give me courage… give me hope… provide a reminder that Jesus is still resting, knowing my beginning and my end. it is my desire to enter the rest of that Great Sabbath as well… and not just tomorrow, but every day.

    thanks for the reminder, allan!

  11. Steve Yeagley says:

    Great point, Lisa. I love the juxtaposition of God’s ongoing rest amidst the chaos of our lives and world. The rest of this Great Sabbath is the same rest of completion that filled the First Sabbath. The “It is finished!” of the cross echoes the “God finished the work he had been doing…” of Gen. 2. And there’s that Final Sabbath yet to be celebrated when God has “carried to completion” His work in our lives (Eph. 2). God is a finisher!

  12. Catherine says:

    Wow!! I’ve never really replied or commented on one of these sites, but followed the link posted on facebook. I was really touched by all the comments and am keen to try get the book (autographed if possible). All these statements of hope and faith are encouraging and truly blessed words. Thank you Allan for the post. God Bless to all!

  13. aamphd says:

    Bob & Juan, thanks so much for taking time to think and meditate deeply on the Great Sabbath, and it’s meaning for us even today.

  14. aamphd says:

    Lisa & Steve, what awesome theological reflections on GOD’s beautiful repetitions on a theme! GOD indeed is GOD from start to finish! Thanks for your tremendous commentary!

  15. aamphd says:

    Simona & Catherine,
    I would be honored to sign the book for you. Wow! Know that it is also available on amazon.com and if anyone is so inclined, would love to have you review the book on their website.


  16. Hector says:

    Great post. I was blessed by it this morning! God bless!

  17. In these early morning hours of “The Great Sabbath,” I find myself restless, unable to sleep. I am reminded again of Christ’s sacrifice and the journey He took to offer me a bridge to eternity. May You be honored Lord. Not only on this day, but in every moment. May the Great Sabbath, and every Sabbath remind us to find rest in you. May Easter morning and every morning remind us that the Son did rise, and calls us to rise up as well.

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