At this point, Jesus was to them, (permanently,) dead. Pick up the pieces yourself. Game over.
The ghastly Friday where Jesus was stripped of all His earthly identity culminating in His death, must have been terrifying to watch. How did Jesus’ disciples feel?
As the weight of the experience of Jesus slowly sinks into my mind and throughout my busy day, I wonder. How did Jesus’ disciples take it? Did they even sleep?
They certainly shared in His suffering because of how their lives were intertwined. They had given up everything for Jesus and lived a carefree, happy life with Him. They could pluck grains to snack on on Sabbath and Jesus would tell off the Pharisees. They could get away with not doing the ablutions before meals, and Jesus would have their back. They drove away demons in His name. They survived a storm because Jesus calmed it. Things were really good with Him.
In fact they believed so much that He would rule something that they wanted a place in His Kingdom, and they deliberated their positions and roles. So much of their time were spent on crowd control that they felt they knew when to turn people away, sometimes to His chagrin. People opened their homes to Jesus and His crew tagged along enjoying the privileges. He was a local celebrity. You want to be seen with Him as far as the man on the street was concerned.
Jesus was to them, truly, the greatest. The best thing that happened in their lives.
And hence, the sudden turn of events, was probably bewildering. Confusing. He had muttered some cryptic sermon about Him having to die, but come on, everything they had experienced was more and more adulation from crowds and victories over Pharisees.
John and Peter were the last ones standing. And Peter, at the final moment, gave way to His pride as John silently watched all that happened to Him.
A Malaysian Christian philosopher that I like to read, Alwyn Lau, puts it very poignantly in his post (emphasis mine):
In this context, Holy Saturday fits like a glove. The day exists for you if you’ve lost all reason to live. It reminds you there’s no need to pretend things will be “okay.” Against all the success porn, all the “You Can You Can You Can” bullshit out there, Holy Saturday proclaims there’s only pain and nothingness. It’s a void, it’s empty, it’s an abyss, it’s over.
Holy Saturday is when you’ve put all your hope in someone and the person has ― without remorse ― deliberately and completely let you down.
If Good Friday was the longest day for Jesus, Holy Saturday was possibly the longest for His disciples.
At this point, death has never been overthrown by the dead person. No one has seen, or could have imagined that Jesus could and would rise from the dead.
At this point, Jesus was to them, (permanently,) dead. Pick up the pieces yourself.
And as for the still body that laid in the tomb. No one expected Him to be anything but dead and cold, waiting for its final decay.