It was the morning after an unimaginable tragedy. It was probably eerily quiet. The voices of the crowds demanding “crucify him” were gone. The jeers of the onlookers insisting that Jesus “save himself” were silenced. The shouting of the Pharisees screaming “blasphemer” had disappeared. The wails of the women that loved him had moved within the walls of their homes. At the “Place of the Skull” stood three empty crosses, the middle one with a sign that said “King of the Jews”. But this king had been killed. His body removed and buried in a tomb.
Many awoke the next morning like they always did, not impacted at all by the events of the day before. But many others awoke to emotions fresh and raw. Those who had grown to love Jesus felt the anguish of losing someone close to them and the overwhelming emptiness left by his sudden departure. Others felt the guilt of realizing that they had taken part in the conviction and execution of an innocent man. And still others had come to the painful realization that the man whose blood they had cried out for truly was the Son of God.
The religious leaders, though, likely awoke with a sense of victory. They had finally silenced this Jesus and it would only be a matter of time before his disciples scattered and this whole mess would be behind then. They just had one more order of business to take care of. They remembered that Jesus had proclaimed that he would rise again. Of course, that could never really happen – but they intended to ensure that his friends couldn’t steal his body to make it look that way. So they insisted that Pilate have the tomb securely sealed. Guards were placed at the tomb as added security to prevent the great body heist.
It’s hard to imagine in their anguish that his disciples would have had any desire to steal the dead body of their friend and hide him somewhere to make some promise of resurrection appear true. What good would it be to them if Jesus didn’t really rise? If the promise didn’t truly come true? If they had to make it look like it did?
And I’d imagine that these men felt totally lost now that Jesus had left them. They had given up everything to follow him and for three years they had hung on his every word. And even though they knew he was their Lord – they hadn’t even begun to process where to go from here.
It was no doubt a very somber Saturday.