Some 2,000 years ago Jesus died on the cross. No one murdered him. No one took his life. He laid down his life. He willingly gave it as a sacrifice for our sins.
Some of his disciples watched that gruesome scene. They saw their Master, stripped, flayed open by the whips, tufts of hair ripped from his beard, eyes probably swollen from the beatings, welts from the caning. His body endured all that a body can endure. His soul endured far more. His spirit bore the brunt of it all. He bore the wrath of God. He took my punishment. He took yours. And he commended his spirit to the Father and breathed his last.
From the human side, those who saw it saw a corpse. A dead man. Those disciples who were there probably looked for those who were in hiding to deliver the news. Rabbi Jesus is dead. It's over. I don't doubt they sobbed deep, painful sobs. I would not be surprised if some were on their knees in grief. Others may have held their stomachs from that deep pain that comes from such unwanted news. It was unbelievable. Their hope died in that moment. Nothing would ever be the same again.
End day one.
Now comes day two: the second day. It may have been daylight outside; but it was black as midnight in the hearts of that group.
I wonder what they did on the second day. Could they eat? Did they leave that upper room? Was their fear of arrest greater than their grief?
Where was Peter? Did he continue to weep for his denial and broken pride?
Did John go help Mary, Jesus' mother, gather her things and move in to his home?
Were the three Marys that went to the tomb on resurrection morning gathering the spices and fragrances they would need?
Did the more practical ones in the group tell the others something like, "Suck it up, guys! We have to keep moving on." Did the more tenderhearted ones look at them with anger and angst?
Maybe towards the end of the day, which would have been late afternoon, someone finally shrugged off some of that grief and found some of the unleavened bread that had been prepared for the passover.
Maybe others engaged in some "Do you remember when" stories about their time with Jesus.
To their surprise, day two drew to a close. Little did they know in just about 12 hours the middle of day three was going to change their world forever.
I am glad the crucifixion story does not end with day two. There was a day three. And on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. And he lives.
And because he lives, you can face the fourth day.