Good Friday is the end of the world
As Jesus went to the cross on the first Good Friday, it was more than simply an injustice. It was God doing his ‘end of the world’ work. According to the Bible’s unfolding narrative, at the end will be the judgement of God – often pictured as the coming of fire. Jesus spoke of his death as this burning:
“If they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31)
There is more burning to come – when the wood is dry – but Jesus on the cross was God’s fire. In other words, Jesus on the cross was God’s judgement: it’s the end of the world seen in history.
Easter Day is the end of the world
Easter Day, the day of recurrection is also God doing ‘end of the world’ work. Anther biblical idea linked to the end of creation was resurrection. Martha had learnt this, even before Easter. We know this because, though mourning her dead brother Lazarus, she was sure he we be rise again (John 11:24). Note the link – ‘resurrection’ and ‘last day’ always belong together.
So when Jesus’ tomb was found empty, it was recurrection tasted early: the end of the world seen in history.
So when is Easter Saturday?
You might share my experience of Easter weekend. Plenty of Easter talk on Good Friday. Even more Easter activity on Sunday. But Saturday feels a bit dull, a comparative non-event.
There is an odd idea, creatively (!) based on a couple of difficult New Testament sentences, of The Harrowing of Hell. I’ll let you look it up, because I think it’s a cul de sac. And not a particularly scenic one, either.
Instead, I want to suggest that Easter Saturday is today. That’s every single ‘today’ until Jesus’ return.
We have every blessing from the Father. God has truly done an astonishing thing. He has brought the end of all things into our world. Jesus at Easter won freedom from judgement and the certainty of resurrrection life with God! The end is here.
At the same time, we wait. Public and universal judgement lies ahead. So too does the general resurrection. The end is coming.
We live in the end (because the end is here). And we live before the end (because the end is coming). A bit like Easter Saturday. It sometimes feels trivial and a drag, but it is real life. We can be assured, though, because of the completed work of Jesus. Therefore, Christians rejoice with 100% confidence in Jesus’ completed work. And we wait patiently for the 100% completion of Jesus’ work.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.