Holy Saturday – April 11, 2020

Read Mark 15:42-47

The message for today is that it’s never too late.  If we have gotten this far and have not recognized the great love that is made manifest in Mark’s Gospel, that is in the Word—Thy Word is Truth—now is the time to turn to Him, “and immediately” ask Him to renew His covenant with you.  The Good News of Holy Saturday is that the way to God is ALWAYS open.  The curtain has been torn in two.  The gates of hell have been destroyed.  He has led the captives to freedom.  Nothing stands between us and our God, except our own fear, reluctance, and disobedience.

The appointed reading today is not reflective of the events of Holy Saturday.  In the Apostle’s Creed, our baptismal statement of faith, we declare that after His Crucifixion, Jesus descended into hell.  The reading above is about Jesus being laid in the tomb.  And the other lessons appointed for this day are about rest.  But the Church teaches that Jesus did not rest on that day, rather “He descended into hell.”  We have this teaching from 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6  and Ephesians 4:8-10 among many others.  This is an important doctrine, that has sadly become lost or buried in our modern culture.  As King David sang in Psalm 24, “Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!”  The gates of hell have been broken, lifted up, and the King of Glory has come in.  Our Lord has completed His triumph.  He has conquered, sin and hell, and in His Resurrection “death is swallowed up in victory!” (1 Cor. 15:54).

This is the Good News of Holy Saturday.  This is, as Mark declares in the first verse of his Gospel, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”  The rest of the story must be lived out in our lives.  Mark learned it, and lived it.  He knew the reconciling Love of Jesus.  And he has invited us to join him.

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