It was the morning after an unimaginable tragedy, and it was 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 shouts of the Pharisees declaring “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 woke that Saturday morning like they always did. They had not been impacted by the events of the day before and their life went on as usual. But many others woke to emotions that were 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, woke 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 them. They just had one more order of business to take care of. They remembered that Jesus had proclaimed He would rise again. They didn’t believe that could actually happen, but they had to ensure that His friends didn’t steal His body to make it look that way. So, they insisted that Pilate have the tomb securely sealed and then guards were placed at the entrance as added security to prevent a body heist.
It’s hard to imagine in their anguish that his disciples would have wanted to steal the dead body of their Lord. How would they benefit from hiding His body just to make the promise of a resurrection appear true? What good would it be to them if Jesus didn’t really rise? What hope would they have if the promise didn’t truly come true and if they only made it appear to?
At this point, Jesus’ closest friends must have felt totally lost now that He had left them. They had given up everything to follow Him and for three years they had hung on His every word. He was their Lord – and they had no idea where to go from here. It was no doubt a very somber Saturday.