Holy Saturday April 20, 2019

Mark 13:9-13 (NRSV) – Persecution foretold

9 “As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them. 10 And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 13 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.


          Saturday brings a series of occurrences, all rolled into a single day, all rolled into a ball of emotions that simply overcame the disciples ability to handle it all.  Last night brought a hasty burial of Jesus’ body, and as many do following a funeral, there were thoughts of “what now?”  “What more could I have done?”  “How do we go on?”  Yet, is was also the Sabbath day, so they could do nothing, nothing but sit and think about the events that had occurred and what their future held.  And it was their future that had them hiding in the Upper Room out of fear.  In the above passage, Jesus had warned them that they, too, would be persecuted for following him; that they would be handed over, put on trial and beaten, just as had happened to him.  After such a loving journey over three years, how could the world around them seem now so full of hate?  How could the good news that Jesus proclaimed be met with such resistance?  And, so, they sat in that Upper Room, full of fear and hurt, mourning the loss of their dearest friend and teacher, afraid to re-enter the world because of his dire warning.

          Yet, Jesus’ warning also comes with a task and a promise.  Even amidst all of the fear and dissension, all who would follow Jesus are called to stand before those that would place them on trial, “as a testimony to them” (v. 9) of the example that Jesus had been.   Jesus said that “the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations” (v. 10) and when the time came to do so, the Holy Spirit would be present to assist (v. 11).  Yes, there would be times of trial and hardship, but that does not mean that the mission is over.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to continue what he started, that all the world might be saved through him.  For tomorrow is a new day, and as post-resurrection people, we know that day is glorious indeed.


Merciful and everliving God, Creator of heaven and earth, the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy day. Grant that we may await with him the dawning of the third day and rise in newness of life, through Jesus Christour Redeemer. Amen.