''For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.'' (John 3:16, 17)
Tomorrow is the day in between.
About 3 p.m. on a day about 2,000 years ago, amid a huge storm, surrounded by an earthquake, townspeople - those who came to ridicule, those who came to weep, those who watched in laughter, those who watched the scene, their guts clenched in revulsion at the terrible sight - saw Jesus die on the cross.
Few of the disciples had any idea what was really going on here; all had fallen from their faith over the last 24 hours. As for the other, more detached onlookers, they had just witnessed the end of one who had been accused by the chief priests and elders of blasphemous behaviors of all sorts.
Jesus was not the usual kind of criminal but one that leadership had managed to stir the crowd into a rolling boil over, a crowd that demanded his life in place of a convicted murderer who himself recognized Jesus was guiltless.
When Jesus finally breathed his last breath and died, he was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a clean linen sheet and placed in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. For all anyone knew, he was gone, leaving those 11 men whom he'd befriended (for Judas had already gone from their midst), alone and bereft.
The men felt ashamed of the way they'd let him down. They were full of fear about their future. Would the chief priests hunt them down and bring them to the same end as Jesus? What would their lives become now?
The 11 fled the scene, ending up in a room together where they locked themselves inside, waiting for what they knew not. The night was fitful; few slept; every noise seemed like a threat to their very lives.
The dawning of the day in between was unwelcome. The Master was no longer with them. There was no business to be about, no people to feed, no healing to be done. They could not listen to him as he taught the masses and shamefully, in this moment, they couldn't recall what he'd even said.
They appeared to have forgotten everything Jesus had told them. Seemingly they had no hope. The day wore on and on.
Throughout the persecution and trial of Christ, they had hovered around the edges of each scene, not wanting to be noticed or remembered as one of his followers. Even Peter, who had the strongest faith in his master, denied Jesus three times before all was said and done. Now, without Jesus' strength, they all cowered in fear.
There was no comforter, no peace. Just sorrow.
Huddled together, they repeatedly asked themselves what would become of them. Every sound must have jolted them to attention, frightened that they would be next to face the cross. They dared not leave lest they be discovered and carried away. Hiding out in that room together was the only solace they had; and yet there was no real strength in those numbers. Their strength had gone.
The day in between was the worst day they could ever imagine. It finally came to an end and they plunged yet again into fitful, wakeful, uneasy sleep, not knowing what tomorrow would bring.
If only they had remembered what Jesus told them.
''From then on Jesus began to speak plainly to his disciples about going to Jerusalem, and what would happen to him there - that he would suffer at the hands of the Jewish leaders, that he would be killed, and that three days later he would be raised to life again.'' (Matthew 16:21)