Make Sure He Doesn’t Get Out!Posted: March 22, 2008
On this Sabbath day, Jesus laid buried in the tomb. What surprises me most is the lengths the religious rulers take in ensuring that Jesus’ body isn’t stolen away. And if they were so on guard and ready for such a theft, it would be nearly impossible for me to believe any person that dismisses Jesus’ resurrection on the notion that his body was stolen instead of risen. It’s obvious that the Pharisees had prepared for it and were bent on preventing it. Yet, what ensues in the next day is nothing short of the greatest miracle and victory ever recorded in human history. Jesus rose from the dead! Let us not wait nervously, as did the pharisees, but let us wait with great anticipation knowing that He will rise as he said!
As if their mission wasn’t complete, the chief priests and the pharisees were still scheming away. On a day when literally everything stopped due to the Sabbath Holy day, the teachers of the law were busy making sure they completed what they started. One Pharisee spoke in a low voice to Pilate saying, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” After no thought at all, Pilate replied, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” The pharisees quickly moved to the tomb in order that they may ensure that there was no foul play at his tomb. Placing guards like a wall around the tomb, the Pharisees finally felt there was enough security to prevent any disciple from coming and stealing away the body. All that was left to do was wait out this day and make sure no one gets in. For if news spread that this man had truly risen from the dead, then their hopes of quieting his teaching would be crushed. Reminding the guards of their most important duty on this day, the Pharisees left to rejoin the other teachers of the law in the Temple, where they were nervously waiting.
“What if something goes wrong?” the Chief Priest said to the others. After a long pause one Scribe spoke up saying, “Then we can concoct a story claiming he was stolen away while the guards had fallen asleep!” All the rulers agreed that this was the best plan, but none felt fully confident that it would be successful. They’d just have to wait and see…
Matthew 27:62-66, Matthew 28:11-25