Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover.
It was about the sixth hour.
He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
(John 19:15, ESV)
Weekends come to us as the welcome end of a marathon. But in the ancient tradition of the Jewish Day of Preparation, the people did not spend the energy of the weekend* merely enjoying and rewarding themselves for a long week of work.
No, they spent themselves in preparation for the Sabbath. The (whole) day set apart for God-pointed rest.
They completed their work, put together meals, and took care of all the things ahead of time necessary to allow themselves to walk away from their labor for that day. They also performed whatever purification rituals were necessary to prepare themselves spiritually.
The weekend, for the Jews, was not so much, Woo hoo! Another week done! Pass me the chips and remote!
It was more work, more focus, more anticipation of the Sabbath so they could grab hold of true rest.
How fitting, then, that it was on Preparation Day, of all days — not just for the Sabbath but for the Passover — when Pilate turned Jesus over to the Jewish leaders to be crucified. Turning to the crowd and shoving Jesus out in front of them, he told the people, Here is your king.
They had no idea.
But we do.
Presented with our King, we worship.
Preparation Day posts here at A Different Story are a part of that preparation for me. Before I burst through the double doors of my place of worship still rattling from the busyness of the week and broadcast the chaos of the weekend’s activity all over an unsuspecting community on Sunday morning, I seek on Saturday to prepare to rest in a God-direction. The words of the psalmists point me that way.
Worship is not the means by which to settle our distracted and fractured souls (though that may well be an outcome), but our response to who He has shown Himself to be. And the Sabbath is more than an hour and seven minutes in the sanctuary.
We enter the Sabbath from our preparation, not coasting in from the weekend.
I invite you to join me: How do you make ready?
*A note: Rather than launch an unhelpful debate as to whether the Sabbath falls on Saturday, Sunday or other day, I use the loose term “weekend” to encompass whichever day before the Sabbath you prefer. The point? There is a Sabbath and thus there is also a Day of Preparation immediately preceding it.