The Fake-Out Fade-Out is a wonderful technique that some artists use to create emotion, add a surprise, and build an ending. Another term for this device is a false ending. It happens when a song or film comes to an expected end, goes completely silent, and then bursts back on without warning for a grand finale.
One famous music group that used this technique is the Beatles in their song Hello, Goodbye. Other artists that have tricked their audience with Fake-Out Fade-Outs are Bryan Adams in (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Natasha Bedingfield’s song Unwritten, or the highly acclaimed SpongeBob SquarePants Movie! The Fake-Out Fade-Out works well because that happened in THE STORY.
The best Fake-Out Fade-Out was Good Friday. Jesus’s death on the cross faked everyone out.
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:45, 50-54
Here are the reasons Jesus had to fake-out everyone for three days.
1) The third day is essential to God. Creation gives us this clue. There are two three-day sections in creation. On the third day, plants and livestock are made of the first set of three. At the end of the second set of three, animals and humans are made on the sixth day. God made the environment hospitable first and then introduced a new creation. This contradicts the idea that plants, animals, and people have had to adapt as their environment changes. Instead, through creation, God says, “I will make it ideal for you first, and then put you in. You were in my mind the whole time I was making the elements of the Earth. If things go wrong, it was not how I originally made them.”
2) Three days is referenced many other times in the Old Testament. Listed below are just a small sampling of those references:
- Abraham’s test on the third day.
- God came down to Moses after three days.
- Jonah was in the whale for three days.
- The prophet Hosea tells the Israelites that on the third day, God will redeem them.
- Lazarus was dead for three days.
3) It seals the reality of the loss. It proves Jesus was dead. There was no coming back from that. Three days were the test to make sure someone was dead.
4) Jesus predicted it 21 times in the gospels. We know that the disciples and Jesus’s followers were not anticipating Jesus’s death because of their reactions. Sadness, fear, and grief are responses to unmet expectations. I don’t think they just missed the multiple times Jesus warned them of his death. Instead, they explained it away. And in doing so, they were shocked at the cross. The fade-out faked them out.
To fundamentally change, you need a liminal period. A liminal space is the place during a transitional period. This can be physical (a stage curtain or drive-through window), emotional (a death or breakup), or symbolic/metaphorical (a choice or decision to be made.) Jesus was in a liminal period for three days. In the events of Good Friday, you can observe all three elements of Jesus’s liminal period: the physical, the emotional, and the symbolic.
Physical: Jesus physically died, and His body was buried.
Emotional: Jesus’s heart was broken on the cross. The abandonment from God the Father
was more than He could bear. He called out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” That separation destroyed him.
Symbolic: Jesus’s death wasn’t the death of one man or even one God. It was the death of
every single person who ever walked the Earth. The punishment of every one of us was on Him. But the crucifixion was more than symbolic; it was a substitutionary death for the entire world.
Here’s what terrifies me about all this; life continued on Saturday. The next day, markets opened, and streets bustled. People woke up, ate breakfast, went to work, argued, took baths, kissed, and laughed. It was like any other day.
The Silent Saturday Before Easter
Imagine a jet plane full of people with one pilot. And then that pilot dies, and no one is flying the plane anymore. It soars through the air in the same direction the pilot leaves it. Now, peek inside the plane: people sleeping with eye masks, some working on their laptops, a newlywed couple on their way to their honeymoon, a young mother holding her sleeping infant, a teenager eating snacks, a man watching a movie. They are all clueless that they are headed for death because nothing immediately changed about their circumstances. The reality was: everything has changed, but everything stays the same. They are slowly fading out, and they don’t even know it.
The sky darkened when Jesus died, but people thought it was fake because Saturday morning the sun came up again. On Good Friday, the curtain ripped in two, but a temporary replacement was hung the next day. After Jesus took His last breath, the Earth shook to its core, but farmers returned to their fields the next morning. What a relief, they thought. Nothing is permanently changed, it was just a little fake-out. But their fade-out had begun.
Like the disciples when Jesus warned them of His upcoming death, after Jesus died everyone explained away the unexplainable and then went about their business.
That’s what scares me, the fact that you won’t know it right away. Death results from a million little choices you made along the journey. Each little angry, selfish action you make contributes to where you end up.
- That comment you made that ruined a friendship forever.
- The move you make that changed your children’s lives for the worse.
- The final bill that drives you to bankruptcy.
- The final argument you have with your dad before you never speak to each other again.
- The bitter silence that finally shoves you over the brink and into a divorce.
The unbearable truth is we are all fading out of this life. You are off track, like a plane without a pilot headed slightly off its path. Over time, that tiny insignificant difference widens into a chasm so big you can’t get back on course.
God told Eve that the day she ate the fruit, she would die. THE DAY. But when she ate it, she didn’t die, did she? God wasn’t lying when He warned that day she would die. He was right. At that moment, everything changed, and yet everything stayed the same. Death came the moment she ate the fruit. It was just a matter of time.
The Bible mentions eight times that people wanted to kill Jesus before He died. This crucifixion wasn’t out of the blue. It was fanaticized about, planned, discussed, attempted, failed, reorganized, and set into place. The world was without a pilot when it happened, coasting to its death.
The Grand Finale
You need a transformation or your fade-out is permanent. You need to be saved from the million decisions that got you to the point of no return. Someone had to know how to go back to where it all started.
You don’t just need a new outcome. You have to go back and change the journey you took to get to where you are. Someone needs to retrace your steps and change every little selfish decision, irreparable heartbreak, and painful knife twist. That’s the only way to fix all this hurt. And that is what Jesus did.
Jesus died, faked out everyone, and survived the fade-out. The devil never saw it coming. Sunday is our hope after a dark and silent Saturday.
That is what Easter Sunday is all about: retracing and rewriting the story we all should have had. It’s not a new life but a new retelling. It is a grand retelling of a story that ended in tragedy and faded to black.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:5-6b
Jesus salvages the scraps of your life’s beautiful moments. He takes those pieces and makes you whole. It all was possible the morning He rose from the grave. And it is coming again at His second return. It will all come to pass.
Sit still and wait. Resist the temptation to get up and run out when the screen fades to black, the song ends, and life stops. The fade-out happened, but so did the fake-out.
The grand ending in history is coming.