Holy Saturday: Would Our Eyes Have Been Open?

What it would have been like to be alive on this weekend, more than two thousand years ago?

Would I have known what was taking place?

When he was suffering, making his way to Calvary, bloody and broken, the cross on his shoulder, did passersby catch a glimpse of the procession and have an inkling that something momentous was happening?

And when they nailed him to the cross, did men and women all across Israel feel the nails of sorrow pierce their hearts, and wonder what had happened?

When he cried out “ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?,” could they hear the echo of his voice all across Jerusalem? Did they feel in their hearts his awful desolation, his existential loneliness and terror of abandonment? Did tears come to the eyes of men and women as they prepared for the Passover, such that they wondered where their sudden, deep sorrow had come from?

And when he breathed in his final breath, before giving up his life, did all of creation’s breath catch in its throat before he said, “It is finished”?

Could they feel it, when the earth let forth a great, wrenching sob, the very fibers of creation stretching almost to the point of breaking in the great, black sorrow which enveloped it as the Word which had brought it into being was taken away?

In that moment, when the veil of the sanctuary was torn, the sky turned black, and the earth shook, did husbands look to their wives, and children to their parents, in wonder and dread, wondering what had just changed, why they felt this sudden loneliness in their hearts, an emptiness, yearning for something which they couldn’t quite remember to remember? Did they wipe away tears, unable to imagine why they were crying?

And what of Satan? Did he shriek and revel with delight, celebrating victory? Or was there just a shadow of doubt in his black heart, as he began to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, this had all been too easy?

And on that Saturday, while the earth slumbered, did a strange silence fall across Israel? Did men and women ask themselves why their voices clung to their throats, and words refused to come? Did they feel that something integral to them was missing, as if they had lost a piece of their very selves?

When they went to sleep that night, did they have a strange, unexplainable feeling that the world would never be the same?

On this very night, did Satan sit on his throne in Hell, triumphantly waiting for Jesus to appear in chains before him? When did he realize how badly he had misjudged his hand? How overwhelmingly he had been outflanked? Was he really so arrogant as to believe that the One God, the One who identified Himself by the name I AM, could simply cease to BE?

When did he realize, with clear and terrifying certainty, that he was not even the master in Hell, his own kingdom? Did he scream, whine, and groan as Christ broke the chains, crushed the gates, and set all of the prisoners free?

And then, on that clear, dewy morning, when Christ rose from the dead, did the Israelites roll over in their beds, astonished at the fresh smell of the morning, and sound of the birds which had been so long silent? Did they feel a fresh fullness in their hearts, a sense that a friend, so long away, had returned? Did they awake to a great gladness?

Did they begin to see?

Would we have seen?

Would our eyes have been open?

Are they open now, on this day, this night?

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