I have often wondered what the Saturday after the Friday we call good was like. We know that the disciples were hidden away for fear of the Jews so they were afraid. We know that they were sad and that is probably a word that doesn’t cover the grief and the shame. We all experience a sense of guilt when someone we love dies which is usually unreasonable but not always. In their case they had multiple reasons to be ashamed and filled with guilt. Abandonment of their teacher, downright repudiation in one instance, begins to describe the personal turmoil that must have existed in each of them. A sense of futility that they had given up all they knew to follow this one that was now dead had to enter into their calculus. Anger at being duped must have been high on the list.
At the same time it is important to remember that as much as Jesus patiently told His disciples that He was going up to Jerusalem to die, He also told them that He would rise from the dead. I can imagine that in between those deep sighing breaths as the hours passed, and those anxious glances at the door to see if some officials were coming to arrest them, was the nagging suspicion and fear that there would be a resurrection. There is an old joke – I have good news and bad news. What’s the good news? Jesus is coming back! What’s the bad news? He is really mad! “What if this Jesus who we have forsaken does rise? He may be coming back to punish!” If that sounds silly to you think of the thoughts that you thought in the hours before a loved one died, or in those breathless trips to a hospital not knowing what you would find when you got there. Think of the endless thoughts as you tossed and turned in the long watches of the night over something said or done, that even today makes your ears and cheeks burn red with shame. Think about these things and try and get into the thoughts that were probably swirling through that small band who probably could not even worship properly.
Trying to get into their mood and thoughts makes the events that take place tomorrow joyous and frustrating as well. After all these events the laconic saying will still ring out about the events of Easter that “some doubted”.