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April 23

But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.

“We had hoped.” Have more desperate and despairing words ever been spoken? Not since Adam was banished from the Garden has a soul felt such agony of spirit. Yes, the disciples had hoped that Jesus was the one who would redeem, but now he is cold in the grave.

They had heard his words, the young preacher. They had seen his miracles, felt the power of his love, and believed his message. But they were wrong. They had left their nets, left their homes and families too. They had left everything and pinned their hopes on him.

But with their own eyes they watched him, helpless and silent before his accusers. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, he did nothing to defend his cause. They saw him mocked, tortured, and fastened to a cross. They saw people deserting him, and joined them. From afar they could hear him screaming, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yes, they had been wrong about him.

There is nothing left for them today but to shamefully make their way back home. His kingdom will not be coming. They must apologize to their wives and family for having been so wrong about a man, so misled.

Today, this Holy Saturday is the darkest day on our calendar. This is a day when life no longer makes sense, when God doesn’t make sense. Everything that we had been so sure of, now is up for grabs. All that is left for us on this day is to pray. Pray, and wait for God.

On this Holy Saturday, let us pray the prayer we heard Jesus praying from the cross. It was a prayer he had learned to pray in the darkness, from the psalmist David:

1  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2)

But let us not stop there, but keep praying with Jesus all the way to the victorious end of the psalm:

30  Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it. (Psalm 22:1-2, 29-31)

Yes, Jesus “has done it!” The one whom we had hoped would redeem us, he has done it! It is finished! We were not wrong to have hoped in him, our Redeemer! Amen.


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