Guard That Tomb!
17 June 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 27:62-66 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” 65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it. (Matthew 27:62–66 NLT)
A little over a week earlier, Jesus and his disciples had rolled into Jerusalem on a carpet of palm branches to cheers from the crowds lining the streets. The crowds were shouting, “Praise God in the Highest Heavens! Hosanna to the One who comes in the name of the Lord!” In a few days the crowds praising Jesus as the Messiah had turned into a mob shouting “Crucify him!”
Now Jesus was dead and in the ground. His disciples were hiding from the authorities, discouraged, frightened, and filled with guilt and shame for denying him and deserting him. The only ones who showed any courage at all were the women who watched the burial. They were trying to figure out how to get into the tomb to give his dead, broken body a proper preparation for burial. So for the Jewish leaders to think that the disciples of Jesus could hatch a plot to raid the tomb and steal his body just wasn’t consistent with reality!
But when the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate about securing and guarding the tomb, Pilate made a joke! I don’t know if he knew it was a joke, but he told them, “Take some guards and secure the tomb as best you can!” So they did. To secure the tomb against a raid by Jesus’ few remaining friends was no joke at all. But to think they could secure the tomb against what God was about to do from the inside, now that’s funny! Stay tuned, friends! It gets better!
Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to fully experience being human, just like us. Born, lived, and died, just like us. Thank you for showing your love for us by sending him to be one of us and to save us from ourselves and our sin. Jesus thank you for showing your love for us by suffering and dying for us. I can’t wait to see what happens next! Amen.