Try to imagine what that Saturday morning must have felt like. The disciples woke up early no doubt, as it’s unlikely they slept well, if at all. For three years they had been following Jesus, traveling all over the place.
Think of the things they had seen with their own eyes. They saw Jesus walk on water. They saw him heal the sick, sometimes with just a word while the sick person was many miles away. They saw him raise a man from the dead. They saw him quiet a storm with little more than a wave of his hand. Once, when a tax collector asked Peter whether Jesus would pay the required tax, Jesus sent him to catch a fish and the fish he caught had swallowed a coin—enough to pay the tax for both Peter and Jesus.
Think of the things they had heard with their own ears. They heard Jesus teaching the very words he—the divine Son of God—had given to Moses and to the prophets. They heard Jesus communicate God’s incredible truth to simple farmers and peasants in such a way that even those with the least education could understand him readily. They heard Jesus confound even the most educated among them with truth so profound they couldn’t comprehend its magnitude. They heard the tender words he spoke to the children that the disciples had tried to shoo away. They heard his voice cast out demons with divine power and authority.
When they woke up that Saturday morning, they could neither see him nor hear his voice, and the silence screamed. Surely there was some fear for their lives as they had been his closest disciples, but now he was dead. On a global scale, his life had been so insignificant he didn’t even have his own tomb. He was placed in one that had been lent to him until such a time as his mother and brothers could gather his bones. But even more than fear for their own lives was the absolute confusion about what had just taken place.
How could a man who could feed people miraculously be killed like this, and with no resistance? Surely he could have stopped it. If he could control nature with a spoken command, could he not have prevented his own arrest and crucifixion? He raised a man from the dead! Were they really to believe that he was powerless when the Roman soldiers scourged him and nailed him to a cross?
And what of all the hopes and dreams he had stirred up within them? Surely he was God’s Messiah! Who else could do such wonderful things that Jesus did? Who else could teach such wonderful things that Jesus did? Instead of seeing more miracles from him and instead of hearing more beautiful promises from him, the silence screamed. The silence was deafening. It was the Sabbath, after all, so no one was working. No one, that is, except for Jesus, whose death was the very work he had come to do.
Though he had told them this many times, they did not understand why he died, nor did they yet understand that Sunday was coming. Until then, the silence screamed.