The Bible’s Holy Week calendar is pretty clear about what happened each day: Monday was Curse the Fig Tree Day; Tuesday was No More Fig Tree Day; Thursday was Passover Day and Friday was a jumble of events leading to Jesus death.
I’ve always wondered what happened on that Wednesday. So, to fill this empty place on the church year calendar, I offer here an imaginative reconstruction of what Jesus and his disciples might have done that day….
I can picture Jesus and his small band of followers walking around Jerusalem, acknowledging the remaining fans from Palm Sunday. High fives and lingering soft applause. At the same time, they had to be careful to avoid the folks who were out to get Jesus: Angry religious leaders, Herodians—some of them were professional assassins—and the ever-present Roman soldiers.
It seems logical that, sooner or later, they would take back the Palm Sunday donkey. More wandering around town, finding the generous owner. Some thank-you’s for the loaner animal, and appreciation for trusting Jesus and his followers with such a valuable possession.
I can see Jesus and the group checking on how the money-changing businesses were repairing the damage from Jesus’ earlier fury. Maybe wondering whether anything had changed, whether folks took Jesus’ words to heart during this important opportunity for religious commerce.
Jerusalem was probably humming with pilgrims from everywhere, so Jesus and the disciples may have done some people-watching—happy to see the building spiritual fervor and appreciating the sights and sounds of different cultural backgrounds all assembled in one place, united in their devotion to Passover’s significance for Jews everywhere.
Being Galileans from small towns up north, the group may have headed outside of Jerusalem, beyond the hustle and bustle, to find a place where they could just sit and talk. Getting away from the crowds that had mobbed them on Sunday. Maybe some time for napping or resting under the shade of a Springtime tree.
While they were out there beyond the walls, they may have decided to walk just a few more miles out to Bethany, where they could drop in on Lazarus, Mary and Martha. A day and an overnight with some favorite friends. Passover was coming, and perhaps the band of followers needed time to clean up, wash clothing or otherwise prepare for the festival.
Perhaps their day was spent in the opposite direction: Accepting the formal invitation of Joseph of Arimathea, who hosted them for lunch at a nice restaurant in town. A small, private gathering—Joseph hadn’t yet revealed to his friends that he was one of Jesus’ followers. Revisiting his previous conversation with Jesus about “Being born again” and “God so loving the whole world that he gave his only-begotten son.”
You can probably figure out the general theme that holds together my speculation: Jesus and the disciples took the day off. The disciples mind-weary from the whirl of events the past few days. Jesus sensing what was in store for all of them. Their heightened feeling that something significant was happening, that they needed down-time to rest, to make sense of it all. To get ready for what was coming.
However reverential my reconstruction is, it’s important to remember that the Scriptures are totally silent about this twenty-four hours. And perhaps that’s the significance of this single non-eventful day: That we can ourselves relax during our Holy Week comings and goings, and enjoy a quiet, task-free time of renewing energy and perspective for what’s coming next in our lives.