I think I know how the disciples felt. They had left their lives behind to follow this guy around for 3 years, had done their best to process some of the difficult things he had said to them, had probably endured some mocking and derision from those who “knew better,” all for the hope that this guy was the one for whom they had been waiting. This was the guy who was going to make things right. This was the guy whom their people had hoped for years.
And then he died. In the disciples’ minds, dead Messiahs don’t do anyone any good. There might have been hope in an ultimate resurrection from the dead, but for now they were in trouble. Jesus had really riled people up, but he had also garnered enough support to where the powerful were wary of getting rid of him. Now, they had done it. He was gone and the disciples were in a pretty perilous position. The fact that they spent days hiding in an upper room suggests they knew it as well.
I imagine the first day was spent in silence. Each disciple probably wrestled with the possibility that they had been wrong. They had left everything, had endured scorn and derision, and spent 3 years re-orienting their fundamental understanding of how God worked in the world for nothing. The shock must have been awful. Maybe conversations started on the second day, once everyone had a chance to come to grips with what they had just witnessed. I imagine the course of conversation probably followed two few points: “What do we do now?” and “Will we be killed, too?”
Of course, we know what happened on the third day. Hindsight, while always 20/20, can have a way of minimizing the real struggle of the time between shattered hopes and God proving himself faithful. The difficult part of the Easter story, the part that never seems to be discussed, its that the disciples seemed to have every reason in the world to abandon hope, to feel duped, and to crumble under the debris that remained of how they thought their lives would proceed with Jesus.
Today, in my life, that part of the story is the most appealing. Yes, Easter is coming. Jesus will rise from the dead. The disciples will then begin to understand some of those difficult things he said. They will possess a new understanding of how God works in the world.
But today and tomorrow there will be questions. There will be legitimate doubts. There will be struggles. And somehow, God, in his wisdom, knows this and seeks to use these days to prepare us for his glorious interruption of the status quo.
Easter is coming. Doubt is real. God can be trusted.