Saturday was the Sabbath…a quiet day in Jerusalem. Jesus’ dead body lay in the tomb, guarded by Roman soldiers. Because of the quickly approaching Sabbath on Friday, Jesus was removed surreptitiously from the cross and quickly entombed. His body had been ceremonially treated by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, but not by his disciples.
“The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:55–56)
Otherwise, silence. Hiding. Grieving. Mourning. We often consider Friday of Holy Week as the most difficult. But imagine the disciples waking on Saturday in disbelief with an incredible hole in their souls. Imagine processing the idea that the dreams and hopes developed over the last three years with Jesus were gone…over, done. Imagine the guilt for abandoning Jesus in his greatest time of need. Imagine the anger at God for letting this happen.
Jesus’ disciples did not yet understand what Sunday morning would bring. They did not yet comprehend that Jesus was purchasing their redemption. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18–19)
They would discover that on Sunday.