The Saturday in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday can sometimes feel like a gray area; the, “Now what?” after some life-changing event.
I can only imagine the confusion on this day that sat in the hearts of Jesus’ faithful followers, even someone like Peter who was probably thinking about how Jesus was right in saying he would deny him three times. I think about how Mary, finding out she was pregnant with the Son of God, said she “treasured up [the birth of Christ and its significance] and pondered them in her heart.” Was today the day she slowly unraveled the thoughts, as she understood His role and ultimate calling?
And then I think of our role today. How we have the power to reflect and reach for the feelings of what Jesus went through. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and awaken our minds, hearts and souls to the power of His sacrifice. I also think about the blood that was shed on the cross – the blanket of forgiveness that covered everyone in the name of Christ.
In John 19:28, it says that in the final moments, Jesus knew all scripture had been fulfilled. He said he was thirsty, so they took a hyssop plant with a sponge, soaked it in wine vinegar and put it to His mouth. Then, He “gave up His spirit.” I’ve always read this and concluded that Jesus just wanted a drink before His last breath. But, if there is one thing I keep learning, everything Jesus did held significance. His entire life was created in order to fulfill the old laws.
So I started questioning the meaning behind the hyssop plant and the wine. Not so randomly (oh, the Spirit), I was led to Hebrews 9:11-28, “The Blood of Christ.” This part of scripture happens many years after the death of Jesus, but the explanation of why the shedding of His blood was necessary served as another reminder to society.
Paul reminds the Hebrews that they were once under the law that said sacrificing goats or calves served as the exchange for forgiveness in ceremonies. Even more, the significance of the hyssop branch goes back to the old law being established by Moses. It was used to proclaim the covenant – that “the law requires everything be cleansed with blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”
Then Jesus entered the story. Jesus, acting as “mediator of the new covenant (or law)” took up the cross and shed His blood, representing the new law. No longer is the law to sacrifice animals for an exchange of forgiveness, because this humble, kind, gracious God-man, walked forward as the final sacrifice. Once and for all.
“But now He has appeared once and for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
And this is what I sit in on Saturday. To remember the significance of His blood. This was and is and will always be the great exchange for our sin and shame. It is the only reason we can wake up to forgiveness and to the start of a new day.
It is God himself saying, “You are enough, because I am enough.”