Great and Holy Saturday
The Sign of Jonah
We look for crocuses as a sign of spring. We look for clouds as a sign of rain. As we behold the sealed tomb of Christ, as all mortal flesh falls silent on this Great and Holy Sabbath, what signs should we be looking for?
On the one hand, Christ warned us against too robust an appetite for signs and wonders. After all, Longinus the centurion witnessed no sign as he beheld Christ’s death at the foot of the Cross. And yet he declared:
Truly this Man was the Son of God! (Mark 15:39)
It is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks signs, Jesus tells us. And Paul writes to the Corinthians:
For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified…the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. (I Corinthians 22-24)
Yet, on the other hand, the prophets are full of signs that death is not the end. Take the word of the Lord to the prophet Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones:
Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live. (Ezekiel 37:5-6)
And, most importantly of all is the sign Jesus Himself gave to us – the sign of Jonah.
For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
But then, behold, it will be death that shall be swallowed up!
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
( I Corinthians 15:55)