Jesus’ friends, especially the Disciples, knew of His death. It was not a thing unknown in Jerusalem. Of course, the Romans crucified persons whenever they chose, but such deaths might largely go unnoticed during the busy time of preparation for the Passover. The year’s crop of Passover pilgrims had already arrived in town, and homes and inns were full of guests. The cleansing of homes had already been undertaken so that yeast would not be found in observant homes. The preparation of the elements for the Passover Seder had been mostly completed. It was a time of awe for many, and the capital city of the Jewish world was abuzz with all it meant. One of the three key holidays of the Jewish calendar was under way. All knew the meaning of its climax a few days later. This busy-ness was typical of the season, and the folks would not pay that much attention to governance or politics or such. They would focus on family and ritual instead.
So, most folks did not hear about the midnight arrest. Many had heard of the arrival of the eccentric fellow from Galilee. They had even been in the crowds several days earlier when He had arrived with a company of His friends and followers. Some had participated in singing the joyous songs that day. But once He arrived in Jerusalem, He set about minding His own purposes. While He was doing that, the people went on with the preparations and probably mostly lost track of His doings in the city. However, His activities of the week did not go unnoticed by all. Previously, He had offended many in the ruling religious circles. This week, He had added to the offenses they perceived in Him. They were busy with the holy season on the one hand and had this Troublemaker in town on the other. His offenses had gone far enough as far as they were concerned. They would deal with Him during the festival time.
And so they did. They made a deal with one of His confederates to betray His whereabouts to them at the chosen time. They constructed arguments they could use to justify His death in their own minds. They even plotted how to induce the Romans to take care of the execution so Rome would not be disturbed by the events. From their perspective, His death would end a host of troubles with the people. His departure would help to settle people back into the previous religious routines that would leave them fully in control. The mollification of the Roman authorities would continue as before, and these guys would remain the primary reference point for the people.
God, of course, saw things differently. From His perspective the stage had been set to bring about the signal event in His redemptive work with mankind. He had always known of these things – even their specifics. The “Only Son” had known of them since the acts of creation had been undertaken. His own labor in bringing the Creation into actuality had sealed these events with divine certainty. The wickedness of the leaders in Jerusalem and the complicity of the Roman government officials composed the tools, but the reality had been in the mind of God from before time began. The time had come. God had determined that a very particular time would be used for these purposes. The Lamb-Son had been prepared and sent to the place of sacrifice, just as so many thousands of lambs had been through over so many hundreds of years. The other major holidays just would not do. This was the chosen time. It was the month of Aviv (Abib), and the full moon would be here soon.
Jesus had celebrated the memorial of Egypt with His disciples, full knowing that this was His last night on the earth in His fully human format. He was under no illusions that the disciples were able yet to comprehend what was about to happen. As He had done with them before, He officiated the Seder that evening while the religio-political leaders were springing their trap, as they thought of it. Not that they thought of it that way, but the Lamb’s blood was soon to be smeared on another kind of doorpost and lintel as in Egypt so long before. The taking of this Lamb’s life would accompany the taking of the lives of so many other lambs on the second day of such annual events (the Seder was celebrated over two days by this point in history).
As far as anyone in the city could tell, the leaders had their way. He was taken in what seemed to be a trap. He was tried in a special religious court and condemned. He was then taken to the Romans for an official trial that could be, and was, followed by His execution. The crowd was persuaded by the religious leaders to support their position in the matter, and a largely indifferent Roman judicial system condemned Him and carried out the execution per the wishes of the leaders. There was a lot of excitement around the actual events, but mostly the people in the city went on about their observances as they always had. Passover happened as usual, lambs were sacrificed, and The Lamb died. The dismayed disciples and friends who were familiar with what was happening went into a kind of shock. The sudden loss of this marvelous friend and teacher was unnerving. Of course, there was some talk in the city, but the methods of the leaders had insured that was minimized by their timing and the methods they had used.
What would His friends and followers do? What about His mother? Certainly her grief was at a depth few of us could ever understand. This One, so loving in everything He did, had been so savagely treated. Death had found Him on the execution post just outside town. He was gone, and there was nothing any of them could have done to prevent it. The leaders went on about their holiday business. It was a busy time for them as they officiated over many things. The Romans might have found it strange they had to carry out these duties during a holiday, but most of them would simply continue with their routines. Only the ones attending the actual events would be immediately affected. He was gone, and that was the end of the story.
Of course, it wasn’t actually the end of the story. The state of shock of His followers was deep. But three days later – THREE LONG DAYS of grief and introspection and shock – they learned that He was no longer dead. He had been resurrected by the power of God. It took a bit of time for that to sink in, but they finally got it and began to remember His predictions of these things. They were in another kind of shock for a bit, but then great joy replaced their pain. For three days they had mourned His death and dreaded what it meant for them. Many probably questioned all they believed. But He was returned to them.
For three long days the heavens had remained silent.
About two thousand years earlier, Abraham mourned for THREE LONG DAYS as he agonizingly walked the road from Beer Sheba to Mount Moriah. His “only son” was to lose his life there, the same way a lamb would lose its life in Egypt – or even on Calvary. Imagine his amazing joy when his only son was given back to him in a type of resurrection at the end of those three days.