Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." (ESV)
As far as I know, nothing in scripture is written about the second day, the Saturday after the crucifixion. We know it was the Sabbath for the religious Jewish people so many people deliberately slowed down. For most, it was any other Sabbath- a time of rest, recreation, and celebrating all that God did for them at the exodus out of Egypt through the Red Sea. It was a time to reflect on God's faithfulness in the past through an unexpected miracle.
But for a small group of people, they would not have called Friday "good." They may have stopped their work, not because of following an observance, but because of emotional exhaustion. The day before they had seen their Master dominated by the Roman officials and demeaned by their own people. The One who they had followed- the One who had made impossible, but hope-filled promises- was staked to a wooden post in full display of the antagonistic city.
Hope in the Past Tense
Would it be too much to guess that, if they talked at all, they started their statements with "We had hoped..."? [see Luke 24:21]
The men and women who had followed Jesus, admired Jesus, and treasured being with Jesus were now without Jesus. They had watched him die. Cruelly. Shamefully. They had heard his words about his quickly-coming "departure" and the suffering he must endure, but the full weight of it did not fall on them until they saw it. In this case, seeing was believing that they had been wrong about him. They had given their lives (and their hearts) to a man who was just a frail as they were.
Most of their nationalistic hopes died with Jesus and they didn't know what came next. In the past, they might not have known what Jesus was going to do day to day, but they knew he would be there to shepherd them. What should they do now? Do they just go back to their old way of life- fishing, collecting taxes, political zealotry?
What Could Have Been...
Even in their consistent doubting, they had believed Jesus would be king... before that Friday. Now, what does their future look like? This kingdom that Jesus spoke so much of would not come now because he could not be king. That just makes sense, right? A dead man can't be king.
All that we can guess about that Saturday is that the disciples of Jesus were living with an acute heartsickness. It was an undiagnosable ailment that only comes when you actually put your hopes on someone or something and that thing fails dramatically. They had given themselves to Jesus and he had seemed to be a failure when it mattered most. They were heartbroken. Scattered. Empty of hope.
There was nothing they could imagine that could rebuild their hope. They were living in the last day of their week and all signs pointed to the first day of their next week being more of the same. The sun had set on Jesus' mission. The next sunrise would usher in a day just like today.
Only the unthinkable could recreate hope in them. Only a miracle could fulfill their desire.