home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > 30th March > THE NOTHING OF EASTER SATURDAY

‘Nothing’ is often something. How many times has God been accused of “doing nothing”? Even Christ’s disciples seemed to accuse Jesus of this when He was asleep in the boat in the midst of ferocious storm. But what appears to us to be ‘nothing’ may actually be the very thing that needs to be happening. The late Eugene Peterson tells in his book, The Contemplative Pastor, when he was invited to a basketball game to watch the Chicago Bulls  – in particular, to watch Michael Jordan. Pastor Peterson’s host had been raving about Jordan and how he could do what no other player had thought possible. But when they went to the game the pastor saw Michael just standing there doing nothing. What’s the big deal? he thought. “I could do that – and I don’t even play basketball!” Then suddenly the ball came down the end of the court where Jordan was and in a flash MJ sprung into action with a slam dunk. Peterson later reflected, I want to do nothing just like Michael Jordan does nothing! 

I think we live in a world were “busy” is a badge of honour. “Been busy?” “Yeah, flat-out!” we reply. I suspect that we think far too little about nothing. (Try answering that same question with, “No, I’ve been doing nothing lately” and notice the puzzled look that comes over the questioner.) Time was when nothing to do was the seed-bed for children’s imaginative play-time. Time was when there’s nothing I can do about it now opened up a world of creative innovation. Time was when several hundred stranded Allied soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk faced the prospect that there was nothing the British government could do to rescue them from certain annihilation but King George VI persuaded the reluctant Prime Minister Winston Churchill to call the entire nation to a day of prayer because nothing was impossible for God.

Gardeners are busy in spring. Flowers bloom. Trees bud. Vegetables grow. But winter is a different story for gardeners. It’s as if nothing happens in a garden during winter. If you ever should try to tell an experienced gardener that, they will think you’re joking. They know that while it appears that nothing is happening in their gardens in winter, beneath the surface of the soil there is a hive of activity taking place. All of this ‘invisible’ activity is the very thing needed for the spring harvests and flower shows! Many of life’s most precious moments are also invisible which gives the impression to some that nothing is happening. Some of these precious moments are when a childless couple who have longed for a baby and must endure a season of nothingness. Even the initial stages of their long-awaited eventual pregnancy can go unnoticed – as if nothing was happening. But there was a day when it seemed to everybody that nothing had happened. But everybody was wrong.

On the first Good Friday, in the wee hours of the morning, Christ was tried, condemned, crucified, executed, and buried in a hewn tomb. Despite the next day – now known as Easter Saturday – the first “Easter Saturday” originally seemed to all to be a day of dashed hopes, gutted dreams, and terrifying consequences. It was a day when it appeared that nothing happened. Yet, while Christ’s body lay shrouded in that garden tomb, Christ was travelling through two other dimensions: hades and heaven. In Hades the Apostle Peter tells us that the Lord Jesus preached to those traitorous, fallen, former-heavenly superbeings (1Cor. 3:9). Then, in heaven, Christ entered into the real Holy of Holies and presented His blood to the Father as the redemption payment for our sins (Heb. 9:24). After this ‘nothing’ Saturday, the Holy Spirit brought the soul of Christ back into His battered and crucified body – now riddled with rigor mortis. The Holy Spirit then re-filled Christ and began the task of restoring, repairing, and re-energising Christ – and then refilling His cardiovascular system with fresh blood. His heart began to pump this new blood. His parasympathetic nervous system drew the oxygen of this blood and began to fill His previously pierced lungs with air. Bio-electricity began to re-ignite the neurological system in His cranial lobes allowing His brain to engage His hearing, His eyesight, His olfactory system, and His nervous system. As this was happening angels came to roll the two-tonne rock away from the entrance of the hewn tomb and delivered fresh clothes for their Lord and Captain. In the early hours of the first Easter Sunday morning these angels stood to attention beside the quickening body of Christ as He eventually lifted His arms and removed His face cloth. As Christ sat up on His stone bed and folded His face cloth and grave clothes.

And the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
John 20:7

I hope you can now see why the First Easter Saturday was not a nothing day! I hope you also might come to see that in those moments when it seems that God is doing nothing in response to your prayers, there is a very good chance that you are wrong. And when you come to realise this, I hope it causes you to realise that the way you take your seat now in “heavenly places” is by praying with confidence for Christ to be glorified in our community through everyone coming to repentance and surrendering love for Christ as their Saviour.

Happy Easter.  

Your Pastor,


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