The day that Jesus was crucified was on a Friday. Saturday was the Sabbath, a weekly day of rest. They did not prepare meals, they did not work on the Sabbath. It was a God-given day of rest. It was a day to be still and know that God is God. In order to have food ready for Saturday, Friday became known as the day of preparation.
But this was not an ordinary Sabbath. This was a sabbath that landed during the Passover week or more specifically the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
What is interesting about the Feast of Unleavened Bread is that it was a feast commemorating when God delivered Israel out of the bondage of slavery from Egypt. They are celebrating God as a rescurer, a deliverer, a bondage-breaker. When they celebrate this feast they are saying, ‘God, we thank you that you are our Savior!”
And yet right in the middle of this celebration they are unaware that God’s true deliverance had just occurred as the very son of God had died on a cross to save, to rescue them from their sins. In fact, they are unaware that through their wickedness they played a part in bringing about God’s salvation.
The very Jewish leaders that demanded Jesus be crucified would then turn and enter into a feast in which they would praise God as Savior. At least that is what they would do outwardly because we know Scripture says their hearts were far from God.
And so the Jews had just begun celebration and observance of this Holy week and they don’t want these crucified men to defile the land during this special feast.
Dueteronomy 21 says, “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land”
They would have viewed someone hanging on a cross during a special feast as especially inappropriate. And so they wanted those men removed and buried.