Holy Saturday doesn#039;t get recognition it deserves

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 13, 2000

Today is known as Holy Saturday in the Christian calendar, but it really is a day that doesn't get much attention. I'm not much of a scholar of the Bible, but I think Holy Saturday gets a bum rap.

The year 2000 calendar makes note of Passover on April 20, Good Friday on April 21 and Easter on Sunday, April 23. Some calendar publishers have even gone as far as notating the Canadian holiday of Easter Monday on April 24, but very few calendars make mention of Holy Saturday on April 22.

Saturday was and still is the Sabbath Day for Jewish people, and because Jesus finally died around sundown on Friday, the official beginning of the Sabbath, his body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea unprepared for the grave. Saturday was the day the chief priests and Pharisees pleaded with Pilate to place armed guards at the entrance of the sepulcher, which were granted, so none of Jesus' followers could steal the body and fake the resurrection Jesus foretold. It was not until sundown Saturday, the official end of the Sabbath, when the Apostle Mark says Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James brought sweet spices with them to the tomb of Christ to prepare his body for the grave. We all know what they found when they got there.

Something happened on Saturday. And, while there is some mention of Saturday in the Bible, there is not much detail from which to draw.

Some Christians believe that Christ simply laid dead in the tomb. He was physically dead, but spiritually one has to believe that he was not.

Some Christians, on the other hand, believe that his spirit descended into the valley of lost souls to preach the gospel to the dead, but no one questions the significance of Saturday in Christ's plan of salvation.

Probably the biggest reason why there is little mention of Saturday in the Bible is that the disciples, those who later wrote the Bible, weren't around. They were in fear of their own lives on Saturday and spent the day making themselves scarce. The rest of Jesus' followers spent the day mourning, fasting and praying, so it is easy to see why Saturday was glossed over so quickly in the scripture. It was a very dark day for Christians at that time.

Today, however, Holy Saturday is a very bright day for Christians. After all is said and done, this day signifies the first day of Salvation. The resurrection celebrated each year with Easter does signify the hope of a new beginning and continues to remind Christians that there is life after death, but we should also look to Saturday to remind us that only through Christ's death was eternal life achieved.

Christians all over the world will be spending today with family and friends enjoying Easter egg hunts, traveling to grandma's and buying last minute gifts to help make the most out of the secular celebration that has come to be associated with this Christian holiday. Very few, however, will remember how important this day is to the followers of Christ.

Everyone around town this week should take at least a few moments to remember the importance of Holy Saturday as we celebrate Easter weekend. And, as Easter continues to become more and more of a commercial holiday for the secular world, let all Christians continue to hold this weekend dear. It is more than three days off from work, it truly is the anniversary of everlasting life.